Employees at the Kroger on MacArthur Blvd. and Sixth St. knew their Friday had taken a sharp left turn when a completely naked black man walked into the store at about three o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, Jan. 3. Not your run of the mill nudist, his tongue arched out of his mouth, leading witnesses to speculate he was high.
“He looked like he was on steroids or doped up, and he kept having his tongue out…and cocking his head back… He looked like he was a body builder…,” said employee, Richard Rodges. “He’s skinny but you know a basketball player – he looked like that.”
In the time it took the lady behind the customer service desk to call for help over the intercom, Taryan Bryas slipped behind the counter through a waist high swinging door that had accidentally been left unlocked to the rear of the booth. The teller failed notice she had company,until Bryas snatched a wallet that was sitting below the counter and headed for the store’s entrance.
By this time, staff had already alerted police and were trying to stop the naked thief, but he pushed his way through two employees and slid past Rodges, who at least got a good push in as the immodest thief retreated to the parking lot. Rodges attempted to pursue Bryas before being stopped by his manager.
Outside Bryas used his elbow in an attempt to smash in the driver’s window of a parked truck. Failing to break into the vehicle, he returned to his own car, a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am, and drove north up MacArthur Blvd.
As he passed through the intersection at Rock Island Rd., the somewhat unorthodox, but otherwise uninspired robbery took a far more dangerous turn. As Bryas drove under the Irving Blvd. overpass, he made a sharp left before crossing the railroad tracks, hopping the curb and clearing the median in order to continue his northbound progress in the southbound lane. Instantly, he crashed head-on into a red GMC truck driven by Derek Walton, who was driving home after his shift at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Southlake. Reportedly, neither he nor his mother, Michelle, were injured the collision. “It was normal. It was three o’clock in the afternoon…very nor- mal day until (the) crazy man came along,” Michelle said. With airbags deployed, Bryas forced his way down the center stripe between two columns of vehicles stopped by a red light, ripping into the sides of cars to either side of him. After traveling only a couple dozen feet, the Grand Am – windows shattered, airbags deployed and missing its bumpers – refused to go further. Still without clothing on this brisk afternoon, Bryas crawled out the win- dow, leaving nothing to spectators’ imaginations. His next enterprise was to attempt to secure a new set of wheels. He tried to carjack first one and then a second vehicle but, again, failed to smash in the driver’s window of either with his elbow.
Bleeding, naked and on foot, he raced into the drainage ditch to the north of the railroad track before swinging into the City Hall parking lot where Elias Sanchez slowly drove her BMW sedan after paying her wa- ter bill. Her surprise at seeing a naked man charging towards her with police in pursuit escalated to alarm when he jumped into her front passenger seat. “(I was) scared, really, really nervous,” Sanchez said, but she was still thought quickly enough to bail out of the car, which was moving quite slowly. Bryas wrestled control of the wheel and, armed with a new car, might have continued to wreak havoc on more unsuspecting motorists had he not driven into the stop sign at the parking lot’s exit.
Moments later, police pulled him out of the blood- spattered sedan, and a little red pool began forming where they placed him on the asphalt. Police huddled around where Bryas lay, and some- one produced a plastic sheet to put over him until the ambulance arrived.