Man arrested for robbing 82-yr-old at Tyler library

Bernard Elliot West Jr. Photo Source: Smith County Jail. From previous arrest.
Bernard Elliot West Jr. Photo Source: Smith County Jail. From previous arrest.
By Lauren Callahan - bio | email
and Melanie Torre - email
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler police have arrested the man accused of robbing an elderly woman at gunpoint at the Tyler Library Sunday afternoon.

The robbery took place just after noon Sunday in the parking lot of the Tyler Public Library.

We were able to meet with the 82-year-old victim of this robbery Monday afternoon. She is ok, but declined for safety reasons to be identified or go on camera.  She did tell us that while the robbery was taking place, she just couldn't believe the event was happening to her.

The victim told us she was waiting in her car Sunday afternoon for the library to open to return a library book. She was looking at the book and didn't notice a man approach the passenger side of her vehicle. According to Tyler police, the man stuck a handgun inside her passenger window and demanded that the victim drive him somewhere.

"She did a great job as far as knowing that she shouldn't let a stranger in the car and go with him because she doesn't know if she's ever going to return," said Don Martin of the Tyler Police Department. "So she did everything in her power to say, hey, I've got money in my purse, just take my money and leave. And he did."

The victim told us that the robber took about $100 in cash.

Tyler police tell KLTV, Saturday they received a call around 6 pm about a robbery at a private physicians office east of the hospital. A black male stuck a gun to a man's head. The suspect, identified as 20-year-old, Bernard Elliot West Jr., then asked for keys. Shortly after that time a TJC police officer stopped a black male who matched the scanner traffic suspects description, but he was not arrested.

On Sunday, an officer was working security at Marvin United Methodist Church and made contact with a black male who seemed surprised to see an officer and claimed he was interested in joining the church. Then went inside with the officer and excused himself to the restroom where he hid the gun he displayed to the elderly woman in the changing table. It turned out to be a bb gun.

West was picked up at his grandmother's house Tuesday afternoon and brought in by investigators.

West was charged with aggravated robbery. His bond was set at $750,000. He is still under investigation for robbery at physician's office.

City officials say the library has been open as normal the last few days with those extra security measures added, but in the aftermath of Sunday's robbery, library patrons like Derek Johnson and his wife are now thinking of their safety, too.

"She wanted me to bring the movies back," Johnson said. "I had a busy day, I hesitated, and then I realized, you know what, this is about safety, so sure, I'll do that for you honey."

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