ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A 16-year-old has been arrested following a string of ATM robberies in Monroe County. Police say they were caught thanks to the vigilance of a Gates emergency medical technician (EMT) student.
Nicole Kuntz says she was driving past the Key Bank on Spencerport Road late Tuesday night, when she noticed someone acting suspicious near an ATM.
“I saw him at the corner, looking around the side,” Kuntz said. “And it completely freaked me out. So I drove past and came around again and I saw him running out of the bushes.”
But she says she feared even more for the driver using the ATM at the time.
“My instant thought was he’s going to go and get whoever that individual was,” Kuntz said. “And I just knew I had to park and get whoever that person was help.”
She called Gates Police, who were there within minutes.
Nicole has always wanted to help people, which is why she’s currently training with American Medical Response (AMR) to be an EMT.
“I’m a person who likes to help other people,” Kuntz said. “Make sure everyone has help, make sure everyone is okay.”
Police eventually arrested a 16-year-old who was found hiding in the bushes. Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode says the teen later admitted to five other ATM robberies in the area, where police say he demanded money while brandishing a BB gun.
“What really was concerning was that gun,” VanBrederode said. “With all the guns we’ve had, we didn’t until we caught him that it was a BB gun. But that was obviously very frightening that they would point a gun right at their face and head.”
Gates Police had posted on social media about the thefts earlier that day. In fact, Nicole had just been told about that post by a friend.
“It was crazy to me because before I saw him, 30 minutes prior was when I found out about it.” Kuntz said.
Tuesday also happened to be National Night Out, and VanBrederode says this is a perfect example of the community and police working together. Which is why Nicole received a certificate Wednesday thanking her for her actions.
“We need that partnership, right?” VanBrederode said. “Of residents to know what we’re looking for and to call 911 when they see something.”
Nicole was just glad to be able to help.
“It honestly makes me feel amazing," Kuntz said. "It makes me feel really good to know that I helped someone. And I helped them catch him and potentially save a lot of people from getting hurt."