Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 31 December 2010 00:00
He knocked her down, but not out. One very brave woman wasn’t going to let her handbag and a mugger get away. The Third Squad reported the details of a robbery that occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. in Mineola.
According to detectives, a 32-year-old female was sitting on a bench on the north side of the Mineola Rail Road Station when a male subject ran past her and grabbed her purse. When the victim chased the subject and grabbed him, the suspect pushed her down, causing her to fall on her hands and knees. She suffered minor abrasions.
Police said the victim then got up and continued to chase the suspect, cornering him in an alley behind Main Street. The victim grabbed the suspect and pushed him against a car and began kicking and punching him.
“This woman was not going to put up with being mugged,” Detective Lt. Raymond Cote said. “She is very brave.”
The mugger wiggled out of his jacket and fled, leaving behind the jacket, his gloves and the victim’s purse, according to police. The victim did not require immediate medical assistance.
Police said there is no video surveillance available. Cote stated that the police department is working with MTA police and that there will be an increased presence at the Mineola train station during rush hour.
“It’s not uncommon that things happen but something of this severity warrants an increase,” Cote said.
He stated further that although it was a very courageous thing that the victim did, police do not encourage it for safety reasons. “It was very brave, we certainly would not encourage that sort of thing. It’s the type of situation where you’re unsure of what the other person, the bad guy is thinking, what he has on him and what his level of violence is. In this situation thankfully, no one was hurt,” he said.
Police have the jacket and a pair of gloves in custody. Cote said that authorities would examine the clothing to see if they can obtain any leads.
Cote described the suspect as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’5”, 140 lbs. and 25 years old with pockmarks on his face. Cote said the suspect speaks English with a Spanish accent and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white thermal T-shirt. “And he doesn’t have the jacket anymore,” Cote said drawing a laugh from press members.
“I was standing on the train platform waiting and I had my bags in front of me and was on a phone call with a friend of mine and noticed a man was coming closer to me,” the victim Diana said, whose last name was not released.
Diana said when he came up and took her bag she started to chase him and caught up with him near Main Street. “He had no choice but to run into an alley and he was blocked off,” she said.
She said she began kicking him when the mugger was trying to hide behind a car. “I held onto him as long as I could, but he wiggled out of his jacket and got away. I’m happy I came away with my bag and the jacket. It would’ve been better if I had the bag and him in the jacket,” she said.
Diana said that two “good Samaritans” came by and continued to chase him after he got away but were unsuccessful in apprehending him. So what possessed a woman to go after the man without any thought of her safety?
“It is just in my nature to not let someone get away with doing a bad thing,” she said. “I thought that if it had been somebody else, he would’ve gotten away with it. There was really nothing of value in my bag other than my wallet, which had no money in it. I just wanted to catch him.”
Diana hopes that people will be more aware at locations like train stations where anyone can just walk up and “do their dirty work.” Furthermore, she suggested that no one do what she did.
“I realized I got lucky,” she said. “I know that now.”
This wasn’t the first time that Diana had a brush with a mugger. She was mugged in college and took self-defense classes to prevent it from happening again. She also has martial arts training in Kempo.
Those skills came in handy last Tuesday.
“I don’t suggest he try [mugging] again,” she said. “He obviously thought I was an easy target and that wasn’t the case. He saw a girl in a pretty little pink jacket and a hat with a flower on it and he thought wrong.”
Detectives request anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.