Winter Haven man arrested for robbing, punching mom who was holding toddler

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Deputies have arrested a man accused of punching and robbing a mother as she held her toddler at a Winter Haven park.

Marques Jarvelle Haines, 19, was arrested in connection with the incident on Saturday.  It’s unclear what charges he faces at this time.

The violent robbery occurred in broad daylight at Kiwanis Park, which is located at 301 Ave. C NE.

According to police, the mother was playing with her toddler inside a fenced area of the park when she was approached by two men.

She picked up her child and walked toward the car, but when she got near her car, Haines threatened, “Give me your money or I’ll shoot!”

The woman felt something against her back and then she was punched in the face, police said.

“He just smacked me in the face and said give me your purse or I’ll shoot,” the woman frantically told a 911 dispatcher.

The impact sent the woman and her toddler to the ground.

“He came up to me, hit me in the face and knocked me over. I have a little one. He grabbed my purse and ran off,” the woman sobbed to the 911 dispatcher.

After Haines stole her purse, the woman ran to a nearby store and called 911.

Haines was later seen in surveillance video using the victim’s credit card to buy cell phones at a store in Auburndale.

After police released the video, they received numerous tips leading them to Haines.

Haines was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail Saturday afternoon.

No further details are immediately available.

Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida