Angry robber stabs paramedic

While being mugged, the victim, who works for East Lake Fire Rescue, crushes his ATM card.

Published August 19, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY — Sean Duff walked into an ambush Friday night. He made a split-second decision that could be called either courageous or foolhardy. And he paid in blood.

It was almost midnight at the MacDill Federal Credit Union on State Road 54. Duff was making an ATM deposit when a woman with shoulder-length hair approached. She said her car was broken down. She asked for help.

Duff, 39, is a paramedic for East Lake Fire Rescue. Helping people is his job. He finished his transaction and followed her behind the building.

As Duff approached the parked red coupe, a man in a hooded sweatshirt came up behind him and snatched the wallet from his rear pocket, according to a sheriff’s incident report. The man rifled through the wallet.

“Where’s your ATM card?” he asked.

The card was in Duff’s front pocket. He reached in and prepared to hand it over.

Then he closed his hand around the card. When he gave it to the robber, it was bent and useless.

The robber threw the wallet and the card to the ground. He plunged a knife into Duff’s chest.

Duff staggered to his car and drove to the New Shanghai restaurant nearby, where someone called 911.

His injuries were not considered life-threatening. He was flown to an undisclosed bay area hospital, where his condition was unknown Saturday.

The red coupe was not broken down after all. Duff found this out when he saw the robbers jump in and speed away.

Thomas Lake can be reached at tlake@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.