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Victim of Tempe would-be carjacker speaks out

Posted: 2:50 PM, Jul 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-21 20:58:43Z
Victim of Tempe would-be carjacker speaks out

Kaitlyn Deroy shudders at the thought of what could have happened outside a Tempe Starbucks on July 11.

"I just thought it was a guy being weird," she said. "When he said give me your keys I just said no and tried to walk around him and that's when he threw me on the ground. While I was on the ground I saw he had a knife."

The terrifying ordeal played out at 9:30 a.m. It was in broad daylight in front of the popular coffee shop on McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road.

"I screamed. He ripped the keys out of my hands. He grabbed my phone and threw everything," she said. 

Her screams caught the attention of 64-year-old Stephen Yeomans. The architectural designer was meeting with his boss and just enjoying his coffee on the patio.

"It's one of those things you don't plan for, you just act on instinct," he said. 

Yeomans sprinted to the parking lot and demanded the would-be carjacker get out of her car. Yeomans said the suspect complied, then ran off.

"For whatever reason, he decided he didn't want to fight an old guy," Yeomans joked.

RELATED: Tempe PD: Citizen Challenges armed carjacker, forcing him to flee

Police said the thief then took a bicycle that was parked outside a gas station just yards away. Police soon caught him and identified him as 27-year-old Cody Hill.

It's not the coffee run Deroy anticipated, but if there's anything positive about it, she said, it was the willingness of strangers like Yeomans to step in.

"So many people wanted to help me. Other people reached out. Two women sat with me while I waited for first responders to arrive and called my boyfriend for me," Deroy said. I'm just very grateful for anyone who wanted to help especially him (Yeomans)."

Hill faces felony aggravated assault, armed robbery and theft charges.