Dothan Police investigators believe they may have a possible person of interest in Tuesday’s robbery at Southeast Health.
Police say a Southeast Health worker was making her way from the employee parking lot to the hospital when a male approached the victim, pulling a gun on her, and taking her purse.
“We are currently reviewing the video surveillance provided to us by the hospital, and the video shows the suspect riding a bicycle, then getting off the bicycle, and walking around the area for several minutes,” said Dothan Police Lt. Doug Magill.
Police believe the suspect could have been walking in the area looking for a potential victim.
Magill said the victim reported no major injuries.
The victim, Courtney Helms, believes the suspect was after more than just her purse.
Helms said, as she walked to the hospital to report for work, she saw the suspect riding a bike down the middle of the road.
“I did turn and glance over my shoulder because I am suspicious of everyone,” Helms said. “I saw him pull over at a wooded lot, and he took steps to go into woods. I never stopped walking, but I did turn back around. I admit he looked suspicious, but I blew it off. It was no time at all after I turned back around that I saw a shadow coming up real fast behind me. He grabbed my hoodie and yanked me back. I tried to fight free, but during our struggling I fell to the street.”
Helms believes the man could have taken her purse at any time.
He kept pulling on my arm and jacket yelling at me to come with him, and get up or he would shoot me. He did have a gun pointed at me, she said.
Helms believes if she had followed the suspect’s orders, she would have been shot, raped, or killed. She said she believes the man just took the purse because the situation was taking too much time.
Helms said the struggle was not to prevent the suspect from taking her purse. She would have given her purse to the suspect at any time. The struggle was over preventing the suspect from harming her.
“This case is still under investigation,” Magill said. “We have leads we are working, and additional video provided by the hospital will be reviewed.”
Once the suspect is apprehended, he will be charged with first-degree robbery, Magill said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Southeast Health issued a press release noting that as one of the region's largest employers it's committed to provide employees a safe work environment.
"As an organization, we are continually evaluating our safety measures and engaging in internal risk assessments of our facilities. When an incident such as the one that occurred Tuesday happens, it gives us pause to identify any additional opportunities to protect our team members" the release stated.
"We, however, don’t want to lose sight of the needs of the team member involved in the attack. We will continue to support her as she recovers emotionally from the incident. In addition, we are cooperating fully with the Dothan Police Department during the investigation."
Southeast Health noted since the incident occurred, several measures have been taken, including:
• Reached out to the property owner of the wooded lot on the corner of Haven Drive and Alma Street with an offer to cut back some of the brush and put up fencing at the hospital's expense.
• Requested the City of Dothan to evaluate the street lighting since it is city right of way.
• Put flashing yellow lights on the security van and made it more visible in the area.
• Increased bus routes to the employee parking lot from 5 to 6:30 a.m. and 8 to 10 p.m.
Additionally, Southeast Health said it has been contacted by Radiology Associates on the corner of Alma Street and Fairview Avenue and it plans to add extra exterior lighting to its building.