Community rallies around ice cream man who was beaten, robbed

Toribio Alberto, 63, was robbed and beaten for the money he makes selling ice cream. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)
Toribio Alberto, 63, was robbed and beaten for the money he makes selling ice cream. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)

A nightclub is raising money for an ice cream man who is recovering after being robbed and brutally beaten earlier in July while on his route in south Charlotte.

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Midnite Rodeo is continuing to raise money at an event Saturday night after the owner told Channel 9 they had already raised hundreds of dollars for Toribio Alberto.

Alberto, 63, was robbed and beaten at gunpoint while working. He suffered severe bruising to his face from the attack. He has had to stop working while he recovers.

Alberto told Channel 9 that two men approached him, pulled out a gun and said they wanted his money. The men ran off with a full day's profit, his wallet and his cellphone. He said the men stomped and punched him but said it could have been worse.
"His face was just unrecognizable," Alberto's friend Gema Vu said.

Romell Mackey, 22, was charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and felony larceny of a vehicle. Mackey has been arrested more than 30 times in three years.

On Monday, police announced that 21-year-old Wesley Fontaine was also arrested in connection with the crime.

Detective Alec LaFontaine with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said officers took this case personally.

“We actually see him throughout the community frequently selling ice cream. We've gone up to him, we've purchased ice cream ourselves,” LaFontaine said.

Police said they were able to identify Mackey by surveillance video in the area.

They said they didn’t identify Fontaine until he was arrested Saturday on unrelated charges.

About a week later, Alberto said there is still pain from the beating, but he's also felt the warmth of a community that has rallied around him since the attack.

“The poor man didn’t deserve anything he got,” Alberto’s friend Hugo Lopez said.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for his medical bills and loss of wages.

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