(Memphis) An A/C repairman has a tale of survival to tell.
He lived through a brutal robbery where a homeowner was tortured.
The repairman just happened to be there on the job when both of them were attacked.
James, the A/C repairman, doesn't want to use his full name because one of the robbers is still out there, but he says police caught the main perpetrator this week.
You hear a lot of stories in the news. Not many are like this one.
“How they had the towel over my face, there was a little opening where I could see just a little bit and they proceeded to try to cut his fingers off with a steak knife,” said James.
James survived being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“They were holding nothing back when they were hitting him with that pistol.”
On September 5th, he just finished fixing an air-conditioning unit at a house in Southeast Memphis when he says two men walked up the street.
“They stuck a gun in my back and they stuck a gun in the homeowners back and forced us to come in the house. They got us in the floor, tied me up. He took my pants' leg and dragged me from the kitchen to the living room.”
James says the robbers put a towel over his face and as he laid there, they brutalized the homeowner.
“They kept asking, ‘Where's the money? Where's your safe? We know you got money. We know you have a safe!’ They finally beat him up enough that he opened up and said, 'OK, I’ll take you to my safe.'”
James says the robbers were not happy to find only $1,600 in the safe.
That's when they threatened to kill the homeowner and brought out a steak knife.
He says the accused robber, Troy Joyner, then began to try and cut off the man's fingers.
“I could hear him yelling and screaming, ‘Please stop! Please stop!” At that time, I knew I was next.”
The robbers never came after him.
“He said, 'Mr. A/C man, we're not here to hurt you. We are here to hurt this other guy. He's got all the money.'”
After three hours of torturing the homeowner, James says the robbers took his wallet and car keys and sped off in his work truck.
The truck was later found abandoned, but it took investigators two months to arrest Joyner.
James says he's learned from surviving that it’s OK not to be the hero.
“Just do what they ask you to do and maybe they will leave you alone.”
He says investigators haven't explained why it took two months to make an arrest. He's just glad they did. They tell him more arrests are coming.
The homeowner survived the attack, but told us it was all too painful to relive and talk about.