CLEVELAND- Holy Cross Cemetery on Cleveland's Brookpark Road is a place where 66-year-old Noel Mercado of Cleveland finds solace. It’s where he goes every Sunday without fail, to spend time with his longtime partner, whose battle with cancer ended last April.
Mercado told FOX 8’s Lorrie Taylor he noticed the two troublesome-looking characters near his loved one's grave this past weekend; one even asked him for a light, but he refused to make any judgments.
"I hate to stereotype," said Mercado.
A few minutes later, he felt a tap on his shoulder from a loaded gun. He told Taylor he was dragged to his feet and dragged to his car, where he was told to hand over everything he had.
"I said to the Lord, if it’s my moment, it’s my moment, thank you for all the time that I've had."
According to Brookpark police, Gilberto Santos, 23, and Deandre Clyburn, 27, took Mercado's jewelry, credit cards, cell phone, and about $400 in cash. He was able to flag down a passing visitor to the cemetery and call 911.
Mercado told Taylor he was grateful to the two men for not taking his life.
"More than anything else, I want them to know I forgive them," he said.
Police said the pair went on a fast spending spree; close to $500 was used to buy clothing at a shop on Lorain Road. Fifteen minutes later, police said they were buying $45 worth of burgers from White Castle and from there it was on to a gas station down the street, where they charged close to $75 worth of purchases.
According to court records, the establishments were equipped with security cameras and that helped Brookpark police catch the two. Mercado said he's glad they're behind bars, but his sense of comfort comes from someplace else.
"I do not have space in my heart for anger, negativity, or any kind of vile feelings that might take away my peace," he told Taylor.
Santos and Clyburn were arrested Monday night and arraigned on a charge of aggravated robbery Tuesday morning.