VIDEO: Virginia bus passenger robbed while having heart attack; suspect in custody

Police seeking suspect
Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Video footage shows a man robbing an unresponsive passenger on a Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) bus who was having a heart attack.

On Sept. 10 at approximately 11 a.m., officers responded to North 1st Street and East Federal Street for the report of a person down on a GRTC bus.

Shortly after the incident was reported, the bus driver and all the passengers evacuated the bus.

One of the helpers, who was later identified as Damontea Chappell, 20, offered to remain on the bus with the victim so he wouldn’t be alone.

Damontea Chappell.
Damontea Chappell.(Richmond Police)

After reviewing security footage, police say Chappell lied and continued to rob the victim.

Video footage shows Chappell checking the victim’s pockets and stealing cash from the victim’s wallet.

“He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Richmond Police Detective Greg Russell. “He ended up removing money from Mr. Bass' wallet, and putting it in his pocket.”

Detective Russell says Chappell stayed on scene and spoke with investigators after the bus pulled over on North 1st Street and East Federal Street.

They believe he got away with at least $200 from the victim, who was an elderly U.S. Air Force veteran on his way to the doctor.

After arriving on the scene, police say the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The footage came from surveillance cameras found inside and outside all GRTC buses.

“That’s really a word of warning to anybody on our buses who thinks they can get away with something like this, they will be found on that security footage,” said GRTC spokesperson, Carrie Rose Pace.

Pace says that protocol dictates that drivers would immediately contact radio dispatchers, who would determine what sort of emergency responders are needed for any situation, adding that the proper protocol was followed in this incident. The driver would never leave the victim alone, unless they were being cared for, such as in this case when the suspect acted as though he would be caring for the victim.

“It’s already a very difficult time when you lose a loved one, but to find out that there was somebody who took that last piece of dignity from them, is extremely upsetting,” Pace said.

“I’ve been a policeman for 30 years, and this might just take the cake. It’s a vile incident that happened. It should not have happened. This man deserved respect,” Russell said about the uniqueness of a case like this.

Investigators say that there was nothing suspicious about Bass’s death, and he had died of natural causes.

Police said Chappell is in custody after he turned himself in around 5:30 p.m. He is being held without bond.

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