Passers-by nab OAP mugger: 84-year-old's niece praises heroes who held handbag thief for police
A handbag thief who knocked a pensioner to the ground, fracturing her shoulder, was chased and held by passers-by until police arrived.
The 84-year-old was bundled on to the street at 2pm on Saturday afternoon in the heart of Belfast.
As the attacker made off with the woman's handbag, witnesses gave chase and held him until police arrived a short time later.
A relative of the victim expressed her family's gratitude to those who rushed to her aunt's aid.
She wrote on Twitter: "Massive thanks to the guys who restrained the creep who mugged my 84-year-old aunt in Queen Sreet today. Legends."
A 22-year-old man was arrested and subsequently charged on suspicion of robbery and assault following the incident in the Upper Queen Street area.
The woman was taken to hospital to be treated for a fractured shoulder.
A police spokesman confirmed: "It was reported that at around 2pm an elderly woman had been pushed over in the street by a man and had her handbag stolen.
"Members of the public then pursued the suspect and detained him until police arrived to carry out an arrest a short time later."
The PSNI officer added that the man was in their custody yesterday.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public for their assistance in this matter," he said.
"I also want to appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident and who has not yet spoken to police to contact officers at Musgrave on the non emergency number 101."
The have-a-go-heroes who apprehended the assailant were last night hailed for their bravery by a Belfast councillor.
"I can't congratulate the shoppers and others enough because this sort of thing is happening all too often," Belfast Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers said.
"It was an appalling, disgraceful and shocking situation this woman found herself in and my thoughts are with her.
"Robberies are not just happening in the centre of Belfast but across the city.
"As a consequence of a shortage of money some people will stop at nothing to try and get a few pounds."
The 22-year-old man is to appear before Laganside Magistrates Court later today.