Fencer foils robbery with sword

Well, that’s one way for a do-gooder to prevent a purse snatching.

Nashville, Tenn., resident (and fencing instructor) Franco Scaramuzza, said he was pulling into a shopping center last week when he spotted two men blasting a couple with pepper spray and trying to make off with the woman’s purse.

"The first thing that went through my head is somebody should do something, and that’s when I got really upset and disappointed with myself, because I realized I had the opportunity to do something," Scaramuzza told Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV. "And I didn’t want to be a hypocrite who just tweeted about it."

So Scaramuzza brandished his sword, started screaming and charged like a madman holding a really long toothpick.

"I charged towards them, holding my épée (sword) up high, and, you know, yelling at them," Scaramuzza said. "I kept yelling throughout the entire thing. They completely panicked and dropped everything they stole and really took off."

Police ended up arresting two men in the incident — Michael Butt and Zachary Johnson — and charging them with robbery.

It is certainly a coincidence that this happened just as Scarmuzza was passing by, but he’s probably a little more likely to find himself a hero than most others. He said he always keeps sharp awareness of his surroundings, and he thinks the fencing training helped him react.

"Fencing, you can do it without the weapon," he said. "It happens in your mind."