North Fort Myers man arrested for robbing veteran in a wheelchair

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
David L. Schmitt.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man who robbed a veteran in a wheelchair on Thanksgiving morning.

On Thursday, LCSO detectives arrested David L. Schmitt for robbery at Discount Liquor in North Fort Myers.

“They robbed me,” said Louis Parreant, a 91-year-old WWII veteran.

Parreant completed his own purchase when Schmitt approached him asking if he would pay for his beer and cigarettes. Parreant obliged Schmitt and paid for the items.

Parreant exited the store with his leather bag draped around his neck. Inside the bag was cash and his Veterans Affairs identification card. Schmitt then yanked the bag from Parreant’s neck and fled the parking lot on foot.

“I bought him a beer and cigarettes,” Parreant said. “He choked me.”

In the new arrest report, it said Schmitt yanked Parreant’s bag around Parreant’s neck causing the strap to strike Parreant’s chin.

Deputies responded to the robbery at the convenience store off the 1800 block of North Tamiami Trail. Several patrol deputies, K9 unit and helicopter swarmed the area. The LCSO K9 unit found Schmitt hiding behind a dumpster. The property was also recovered and returned to the victim.

Parreant’s son, Karl, was not happy about the situation Schmitt put his father through during the holiday.

“My dad was good enough to say he’d buy him a beer and some cigarettes,” Karl said. “And then the guy turns around and grabs him and chokes him and all the sudden takes off with his purse.”

Karl said he got away with more than just his father’s money.

“That had all his ID, his social security, his military,” Karl said. “He’s a World War II vet. He had all his records from that in there. That’s stuff you can’t just go out and replace one day.”

Parreant is still waiting to get his bag back from LCSO. He had $25 in cash inside along with his personal belongings.

Schmitt is in jail on a $10,000 bond.

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