A masked UF student was tackled and handcuffed at UF on Thursday after stealing a money box containing more than $1,000 from Krishna Lunch.
University Police arrested Anthony Alexander Davila-Stirling, 21, a UF advertising junior, on charges of theft and wearing a mask in public, according to a police report released hours after the incident.
After waiting in line on the Plaza of the Americas at about 1 p.m., ostensibly to order food from the Krishna Lunch vendors, Davila-Stirling snatched a tan money box and sprinted away.
He didn’t make it far. Another UF student, who witnessed the robbery, chased Davila-Stirling down and tackled him while two others helped hold him down until police could arrive.
David Malcolm, 18, and his roommate were slacklining on Plaza of the Americas when they saw Davila-Stirling run past them. They chased after him down, and Malcolm’s roommate tackled him onto the grass just west of Library West.
“It was my roommate that caught him first,” said Malcolm, a UF wildlife ecology and conservation and geology freshman. “I just helped him hold the guy down.”
Caitanya Long, 48, the general manager of Krishna Lunch, which has long served its vegetarian and vegan food to UF students and faculty on campus, said Davila-Stirling seemed like he was going to order food.
When it was his turn to step up to the table, however, Davila-Stirling — dressed in a dark hoodie and a ski mask with a pink skeleton on it — threw a black credit card onto the table the Krishna employees set up to take orders, seemingly as a way to distract them.
The card slid off the table, and an employee leaned down to pick it up. At that point, Davila-Stirling snatched the money box from in front of her and ran.
“Thief!” she yelled after him. “Call the cops!”
Lacie Rosser, an employee who was sitting behind the table with Long, said Davila-Stirling seemed suspicious while he was waiting in line.
“I was watching him when he was standing in line, and I (had) a really bad feeling,” the 26-year-old said.
UF freshman Zachary Burr had finished his lunch and was talking to friends on the Plaza of the Americas when he saw Davila-Stirling sprinting with the money box.
“I thought he was going to get away,” the health science student said.
Burr, 18, said he held down Davila-Stirling’s feet until police arrived.
With nowhere to go, Davila-Stirling didn’t resist.
“Once he was on the ground, he knew he messed up, and he wasn’t getting out of it,” Burr said.
Long said police arrived five minutes after Davila-Stirling was tackled. Davila-Stirling remains in the Alachua County Jail, as of press time, with no bond.
Long said Davila-Stirling didn’t need to steal; she would have gladly fed him for free.
“We are a peaceful organization,” she said. “We would have given him a lunch for free if he wanted it.