Police: Woman attacked, robbed while paying for parking spot

ATLANTA — Gloria Gordon says she comes to downtown Atlanta all the time for appointments, and never expected to be attacked during the day. But when a man accosted her last week, a witness a few doors down didn't just stand idly by.

Kevin Aycock was getting coffee Tuesday morning when he says he heard the screams of a 65-year-old woman being attacked.

"I've never seen anything like this. It was so loud. I couldn't believe it was screaming," Aycock said.

The victim was trying to pay for her parking spot at a pay machine at Forsyth and Luckie streets around 10:30 a.m.


She was on her way to a dentist appointment when her attacker came up from behind.

"And then he punched me a couple of times and then he kicked me and I just stepped back, grabbed my bag and started swinging it at him and screaming at the top of my lungs," Gordon said.

Police identified the suspect as William Helphenstine, 54.

Gordon says he appeared to be under the influence of drugs and thought the pay machine was something else.

"I think he thought it must have been an ATM or something and that he was going to get cash," Gordon said.

"I was yelling at him to get away at that point," Aycock said.

Aycock says he followed Helphenstine after he yelled at him and dialed 911.

When police arrived he says the responding police officer did more than just make an arrest.

"He... asked her for a hug to say, 'Hey can I give you a hug to comfort you?' and I thought that was really touching," Aycock said.

Now both people involved say they hope the suspect can clean up his act.

When Helphenstine was arrested he had an active criminal trespass warrant out in Tennessee.