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The Moneta community was still coping Monday with what had happened to one of its own.
A candlelight vigil, held in front of Terry’s Country Corner store, showed the care and concern the community has for Bob Terry, seriously injured Saturday night in a robbery.
Monday evening’s event drew a crowd of at least 150 people. People parked at Flint Hill Baptist Church and walked the short distance to the store.
Terry’s friends and neighbors stood in the darkness, holding candles and singing hymns. A Bedford County Sheriff’s Office car, with lights flashing was parked along the dark, narrow country road to alert motorists that something was going on.
“He’s family,” commented Ron Durham. “He’s not blood kin, but he’s family.”
“I’ve known Bob for about 30 years,” said Ron Smith. Smith, a regular customer at Terry’s store, said that Terry routinely extended credit to customers. He said that, if he came in for something and didn’t have cash, Terry would let him pay for it later.
“You hate to see something like this happen to Bob who was a gentle person,” Smith added.
“He would deliver your groceries,” added Valerie Holdren.
“The best meat in town,” Teressa Dooley stated.
These were the voices of a community coming together.
Terry’s is an old-fashioned country store; he sells a little bit of just about everything.
“He even had some car parts,” said Dooley.
Many commented Monday about Terry’s generosity. They said that he would give groceries to people who couldn’t pay. He also remembers every customer’s name.
During the vigil, several people in the crowd said that they wanted to contribute money to a fund to pay a reward for information leading to the capture of Terry’s assailant. One man started the ball rolling by saying that he would like to contribute $500. Sheriff Mike Brown said that his office will coordinate the reward effort.
“It’s heartwarming to see the community come together like this, “ Brown commented.
“I’ve known Bob Terry for 30 years,” said Major Ricky Gardner. “He would literally give you the shirt off his back.”
According to Brown, as of Monday night, the Sheriff’s Office knew little about the assailant beyond Terry’s description. Terry described him as a stocky, black man wearing a hoodie. The man left on foot after the assault.
At 9:06 p.m. Saturday, Bedford County 911 received a call from 8929 Dickerson Mill Rd. reporting that Bob Terry had come to that house. Terry reported to the caller that he had been badly beaten and robbed.
The caller’s house was located across the road from the store.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, Terry told his neighbor that as he was walking to his car after closing the store, a man jumped and beat him, and then robbed him. The suspect took the victim’s wallet and other personal items. Terry said that the suspect left on foot and was headed towards the Flint Hill Road/Dickerson Mill Road intersection.
Terry, 81, was transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and was being treated for head and face injuries.
“I’ve known Bob Terry for years,” Major Gardner said. “I bet he’s never said anything bad about anybody. This makes my blood boil.”
Gardner said the crime was “totally senseless.”
“It’s terrible,” he said. “Hopefully he’s going to pull through it.”
Gardner said the Sheriff’s Office has “boots on the ground” in investigating the crime. “We’ve gotten some calls from people in the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re just trying to connect the dots and put the pieces together.”
And like those in attendance at Monday’s vigil, Gardner was at a loss to explain why something like this should happen.
“He’s just a true southern gentleman,” Gardner said of Terry. “He’s a fine man. It’s just a tragedy to think that he had to go through something like that.”
The family is in the process of setting up the fund to provide reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the crime. Gardner said several persons of interest have been interviewed and he encouraged those with information to call the Sheriff's Office.
Anyone with information on this crime can call the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 586-7827 or Central Virginia Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Crime Stopper callers remain anonymous and may receive a reward up to $1,000 for information in the case.