‘Love Overcomes All Things’ — California Man Stops Bank Robbery with a Hug

  • How one hug defused a situation that could’ve easily turned very ugly.

Bank robbery scenarios rarely have happy endings. They usually conclude with somebody injured, shot, or even dead.

But not this time. A California man showed that, sometimes, all you need is a bit of understanding — and a warm hug.

Michael Armus Sr., 69, didn’t expect to be walking into a crime scene when he entered a Bank of the West branch on May 22. But it just so happened a supposedly armed man was demanding money from the cashiers.

But then, things took an even more unexpected turn. Armus realized he knew the would-be robber from many years ago.

Hearing distress in the man’s voice, Armus decided he had to act. But instead of relying on superior firepower, he struck up a conversation.

Lo and behold, the robber responded. Fast-forward a bit, and the two were hugging it out on the sidewalk, waiting for the cops to show up.

Now that’s how you handle a difficult situation.

Walking into a Crime Scene

Armus hadn’t planned on doing any heroics on his Monday morning. He was simply going to drop by his Bank of the West branch in Woodland, California.

After all, he had a check to deposit.

But when he walked through the doors, Armus quickly realized something was wrong. The usually smiling cashiers seemed scared and concerned.

That might’ve had something to do with the man standing at the counter. He’d pulled his T-shirt up to cover his face as he handed a note to the cashiers.

Based on various media reports, the note claimed the man was armed either with a gun or a bunch of explosives. But the message was clear: “Hand over the money or people are going to get hurt.”

Armus had walked straight into an ongoing bank robbery.

‘He Seemed Depressed’

Something about the robber seemed awfully familiar to Armus, though. He soon realized he recognized the man.

The robber — as the police later confirmed — was Eduardo Plasencia. They weren’t friends or anything, but Armus definitely knew who he was from years back.

“Like 25, 20 years ago, he lived in an apartment complex I did. I didn’t know him, but I have seen him around. He was a friend of my daughter’s,” Armus told KCRA.

Not only did he recognize Plasencia, Armus realized the 43-year-old was not all right.

“The thing was, I seen something else. He seemed to be depressed, the way he was talking,” Armus recalled.

“That broke the ice for me.”

So, to continue the morning’s theme of unexpected developments, Armus decided to do something the cashiers probably didn’t see coming. He started talking to Plasencia.

Kind Words and a Hug

Undeterred by his claim to be armed, Armus approached Plasencia. The man also seemed to recognize Armus — or perhaps he was just glad someone was talking to him.

“I just approached him, and I asked him, I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘You don’t have a job?’” Armus told.

Instead of reacting negatively or violently, Plasencia began telling Armus exactly what was wrong.

“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he began.

“There’s nothing in this town for me. I just want to go to prison.”

Seeing Plasencia was obviously struggling, Armus began trying to comfort him. After chatting for a moment, he suggested that perhaps they should continue their conversation outside.

“I took him outside, and I give the man a hug right here at the doors. He started crying,” said Armus.

At that moment, Plasencia’s earlier wish to go to jail came through.

“I stepped away from him and swoop, here come all the cops. No sirens, just lights everywhere,” Armus said.

‘Try to Be Kind’

The police promptly arrested Plasencia. Much to everyone’s relief, they discovered that he was entirely unarmed, despite the threats he made at the bank counter.

It seems he really didn’t want to harm anyone.

According to Woodland police, Placensia has been booked into Yolo County jail. He is suspected of attempted robbery.

The cops had nothing but good things to say about Armus defusing the situation.

“[He is a] Good Samaritan who delivered the right message that made a difference,” Woodland police said in a statement to ABC News.

For his part, Armus doesn’t seem to think all that much about what he did. He believes it was fate that put him in the bank on Monday morning.

Now, he is planning to go see Plasencia in jail. Hopefully the man gets the help he so sorely needs.

“Love overcomes all things. People don’t realize that. Try to be kind to somebody,” Armus said.