Ralph Valletta had just started his shift as a cab driver in Reading, Pennsylvania, when 18-year-old Victor Martinez-Herrera pulled a gun and attempted to rob him. Valletta can be heard saying that he just started, and that he didn’t have anything in his wallet.
“We can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way, man,” yelled Herrera. “Let me see your wallet and let me see your phone. I need it all right now, if you don’t want to die, man,” he added.
What Herrera didn’t know was that Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Ely had pulled up behind Valletta’s cab. Noticing that the car had stopped at a green light, Ely exited his police vehicle, where he apprehended Herrera. The terrifying ordeal was all caught on Valletta’s cab dashcam (via Reading Eagle):
Valletta said he's always on guard when picking up passengers, especially since he's been robbed twice before at gunpoint in 25 years as a cabbie. And Monday's passenger displayed a “red flag” when he twice tried to persuade Valletta to drive down a narrow alley, claiming he left his wallet at home.
“He's yelling he wants money, and all I had were 11 dollars in one pocket for change,” Valletta said. “I reached into one pocket and handed him the 11 dollars, and he's screaming, ‘Give me the rest of the money. I know you got more money.'”
Deputy Sheriff Terry Ely said he had just finished serving civil paperwork on the 1100 block of North 10th Street when he noticed the Reading cab sitting double parked on the street. He pulled up behind it.
The warm 60-degree weather had allowed Ely to drive around the city with the windows of his cruiser rolled down, and he could hear some commotion coming from the cab. But the biggest thing that caught Ely's attention was that the car sat at a green light as the traffic light cycled through without moving.
“It sounded like people talking loud or some kind of an argument coming from inside of the cab, but sometimes you just blow those things off,” Ely said. “The commotion was still going on, so I made it a point to put on my emergency lights.”
The Eagle added that Herrera didn’t even have a real firearm. It was a Ruger pellet gun, with fiber optic sights, though it looked real enough.