Brant Daugherty returned home Sept. 23 feeling victorious after a successful night on the dance floor. But moments later his Dancing with the Stars triumph turned to terror as a man approached him with a gun and demanded he hand over his possessions.
“After the show I got dropped off and was walking up to my apartment building and a man followed me up with a gun and told me to give him my stuff,” Daugherty told PEOPLE backstage at DWTS Monday.
“It was a complete random occurrence of events and it led up to one of the worst nights of my life – after having such a great night last week on the dance floor,” he also said, adding that police said they never received a report like his in his “very safe neighborhood.”
Daugherty, 28, said his mugger made off with a pair of workout pants, two T-shirts, dance shoes, a toothbrush and his cell phone – making it impossible for him to contact the police immediately.
But fortunately the attacker didn’t steal one important thing from the actor: his sense of humor.
“Somewhere out there there’s a dancing thief with great teeth,” he said. “We like to joke that we changed his life. When he got my dance shoes he swore away his life of crime and he’s going to start doing the salsa now.”
Yet despite the positive attitude, both he and his professional dancing partner, Peta Murgatroyd, make it clear this crime shook him to the core.
“He came in the next morning … and he was so flustered and emotional. I was like, ‘Oh my Lord, he’s had the worst time,’ ” said Murgatroyd.
Daugherty didn’t dispute her assessment.
“You don’t really know how to react to something like that,” he said. “You’re laughing one minute, then you kind of get a little overwhelmed and start crying. Then you’re laughing again.”
“It was kind of a roller coaster of a week,” he added.