Police: Man stole woman's iPhone while she rendered first aid to friend

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

As Cassandra Miller, a visitor to Gainesville from Indiana, was performing CPR on a friend Monday evening, a passerby asked if everything was OK — and then stole Miller's $600 phone, police said.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the Gainesville Police Department received a call about someone who possibly was in cardiac arrest, according to a report.

An officer arrived at the Winn-Dixie at 2500 N. Main St. to find Miller, 20, of Mishawaka, Ind., and her boyfriend Zachary Stults, 24, of South Bend, Ind., performing CPR on an unconscious man.

Miller and Stults were visiting to help their friend move, Miller told The Sun on Tuesday. When the three of them pulled their moving van into the parking lot of the Winn-Dixie, their friend fainted and was showing signs of a heart attack.

The couple moved the man to the ground and called 911. Miller said she tossed her iPhone and her glasses aside so she could help Stults perform CPR.

While they were on the ground, Miller said, a man — later identified as Shaquille Kevon Simmons, 19, of Gainesville — approached and asked if everything was all right. Miller told the man she'd already called an ambulance, and he walked away.

After an ambulance took the friend to a hospital, Miller noticed her iPhone was missing.

"I wasn't trying to make it all about me, but I told my boyfriend, ‘My phone's gone. I think that guy stole my phone,'?" she said.

Miller gave a description of the man to the police officer, and shortly after, Simmons came out of the Winn-Dixie. Miller called her phone, which started ringing in Simmons' pocket, according to the report.

He admitted to taking the phone, then yelled racial slurs after the arresting officer read him his Miranda rights, police reported.

Simmons was arrested on a charge of grand theft, a third-degree felony. He was in the Alachua County jail on Tuesday in lieu of $5,000 bond.

Miller and Stults' friend remained at UF Health Shands Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, where he was doing much better, Miller said.

She also said she was shocked at the thief's brazenness.

"I couldn't believe somebody had, you know, even asked if this person was OK, and then just turned around and stole my phone," she said. "It's just so low."

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or erin.jester@gainesville.com.

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