Police chief shares update on woman burned in Palestine robbery

Updated: Feb. 25, 2019 at 3:35 PM CST
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PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - A convenience store customer who was lit on fire in an aggravated robbery last Thursday is reportedly recovering well and received a visit from Police Chief Andy Harvey on Monday.

Harvey says the surveillance video appears to show the suspect, identified as Robert Thompson, 40, restraining two women, a cashier and a customer, with duct tape, then dousing them with lighter fluid and setting the customer on fire before fleeing.

Both women’s hands and feet had been duct-taped before being doused. The customer in the incident has been identified as Della Witt-Denizeri.

Only Denizeri was set on fire, the surveillance video shows. Her shoulders and hair appeared to go up in flames as she struggled out of her shirt.

She was taken to a local hospital and then was transferred to a Dallas burn unit for care.

On Monday, Harvey shared an update on the police department’s Facebook page showing a smiling Denizeri in a friendly hug with Harvey. He says that both women are doing well, and that the store employee, identified as Linda, has already returned to work.

Ms. Della is a courageous and beautiful lady with a heart of a lion. It was good visiting with her today. Our community...

Posted by Palestine Police Department on Monday, February 25, 2019

“Ms. Della is a courageous and beautiful lady with a heart of a lion. It was good visiting with her today. Our community cares about you and Ms. Linda, the other victim in the horrific robbery last week in our city. Ms. Linda is doing okay as well. Can you believe she already returned to work! Warrior Spirit. Show them how much you love them! We do!” Harvey wrote.

Thompson was apprehended Thursday afternoon at a different gas station in the city. During the press conference, Harvey said that Thompson has a previous criminal history, mostly related to drugs, and confirmed that he does live in the area. He was booked into the Anderson County Jail and held on $4 million bond.

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