SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Following what police are calling a violent robbery and kidnapping attempt at the Springfield Walmart Sunday morning, Springfield Police already have a suspect in custody.
Police say 50 year old Willie Joe Bufford, a homeless with a last known address in Portland, was taken into custody Sunday afternoon in Springfield, just nine hours after the incident.
According to police, the victim, a 23 year old Springfield woman had gone to Walmart to do some shopping around 9:30am Sunday morning and didn’t notice that a man was stalking her inside the store. The man followed her out of the store and to her vehicle. Police say the suspect then attacked the woman as she was putting her groceries in the backseat of her vehicle.
Police say, the suspect had a large knife (recovered by police) and forced the woman into the back seat. There was a struggle as the victim reached for the knife. The suspect pulled back and sliced the woman across the fingers, according to police.
According to Springfield Police Detective Chuck Bogle, Buford was developed as a suspect early on in the investigation. Detective Bogle told Smokey Barn News that a break in the case came when photos of the suspect were shown to local businesses.
Detective Bogle said that Buford admitted to being at the store and being in an altercation with a woman but denies that it was a robbery or kidnapping attempt. Bogle added that Buford had a lengthy criminal history and an outstanding warrant out of Robertson County.
Willie Buford PHOTO RC JAIL
During the altercation, two good Samaritans, hearing the commotion, rushed to the woman’s aid. The good Samaritans pulled the suspect out of the vehicle and to the ground. At some point the man was able to escape before police could arrive and fled on foot dropping the knife in the process.
Police say that at least one of the good Samaritans left before police arrived and they would like to hear from them, if not to at least offer their thanks.
Another good Samaritan chased the suspect into a wooded area adjacent to Walmart. Police say the suspect was then witnessed running into the Sleepy Hollow subdivision. MAP Police say the suspect was in Walmart for 30 minutes before following the woman out to her vehicle.
If the good Samaritans had not stepped in….. “I’d hate to say,” said Detective Bogle, “extremely different, I mean, I believe that if they had not stepped in there’s no telling what would have happened.”
Buford was booked into the Robertson County jail. Charges listed are; Aggravated Assault (No bond listed) Aggravated Kidnapping (No bond listed) Aggravated (Attempted) Robbery (No bond listed) and Failure To Appear $7,500.00.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Springfield Police at 615-384- 8422 or Crime Stoppers at 615-382- 3799 to be able to provide anonymous information.