Armed witness intervenes in Fort Lauderdale Family Dollar robbery, police say

Police: Nicolas Deas, 20, also had an accomplice

Nicolas Deas (BSO)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A robber pistol-whipped a Fort Lauderdale discount store employee and almost got away with it before a witness with a gun of his own stepped in, according to court documents obtained by Local 10 News on Friday.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, the suspect’s ill-fated attempt at a cash grab happened at around 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Family Dollar at 1939 NW Ninth Ave., in the city’s Lauderdale Manors neighborhood.

Police said Nicolas Richard Lee Deas, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, and another man walked up as the employee was closing the store and Deas claimed he left his cellphone inside so the employee opened the door to try and help him.

The employee’s kind gesture would turn out to be a mistake, according to an arrest report, as Deas pointed a stolen gun at the worker and told him, “Give me the money or I will kill you.”

Police said the employee took the pair to the safe and Deas’ accomplice filled the bag with about $1,200. The report states Deas pistol-whipped the worker in the back of the neck and in the elbow.

A man closing his own business in the shopping center said he heard the commotion at the nearby Family Dollar and went in, the report states.

Police said the business owner saw Deas with a gun in his hand, took out his own gun and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon and get on the ground, which he did. The other suspect got away, however.

The report states the business owner kept Deas on the ground until officers arrived and arrested him.

The arrest report doesn’t identify the suspected accomplice and it’s not clear if he’s been located as of Friday. It’s also not clear if Deas’ alleged accomplice got away with the cash.

Deas was jailed without bond on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, grand theft of a firearm and illegally carrying a concealed firearm.

Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.