Imagine, for a moment, that you’re at a casino, minding your own business, and a guy wearing a Batman mask comes in. You might think it was some sort of prank, like U.S. Army veteran Elliot Montalvan did. However, in the case of a attempted robbery in Germany last summer, Montalvan learned it was far from a prank.
Montalvan, a 35-year-old who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was at his job in a casino in the small Bavarian town of Heidingsfeld when a man walked in with a Batman mask, work gloves and a ski mask. Montalvan saw the man, and according to Stars and Stripes, thought it was a joke.
The veteran said, “I thought someone wanted to play a prank on me.” He quickly realized it wasn’t a joke when the perpetrator pulled out a gun and said, “Give me the money.”
Luckily, Montalvan remembered his six years of military training, which included time with the 172nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment out of Schweinfurt, Germany.
As seen in recently released security footage, the Iraqi war vet grabbed the thug’s gun, put his arm around him, and brought the perpetrator to the ground.
Montalvan said, “We went down with such a force that, I (thought) the robber was for a moment unconscious or shocked.”
He wasn’t though. So, Montalvan pounded the man with moves he learned in the military, finally putting him in a choke hold until the criminal lost consciousness. Not a bad performance at all for a guy who still has six surgical pins in his back from wounds he sustained in an roadside bomb explosion in Iraq, according to Stars and Stripes.
Montalvan wasn’t about to just leave the unconscious man alone though.
He said that his “first aid reflexes” kicked in and began to take care of the man. He checked for a pulse and then turned the perpetrator’s body over so he wouldn’t choke on his blood.
Montalvan then called his wife, who called the police.
When police showed up, Montalvan was quick to hold up his hand and let them know that he wasn’t the bad guy. The bad guy was passed out with a broken cheekbone.
The vet said that it was his military training that ended up saving his life that day.
“I never thought that what I learned could one day really save your life,” he said. “I never realized it until this night.”
According to Stars and Stripes, the criminal was a 48-year-old man who was sentenced Jan. 30 to three years and three months in prison for attempted armed robbery.
Luckily, this casino was saved from a robbery thanks to a young hero who quite literally took matters into his own hands.
Our hat’s off to you, Mr. Montalvan. We need more heroes like you.
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