Good Samaritan Breaks Up Attempted Theft by U Street Metro

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jess J

“Dear PoP,

This morning I witnessed a random act of kindness that you just don’t see enough of in this city. As I was entering the U Street metro station, I noticed two men running at me full speed. Then I realized one person was chasing the other. Next thing I knew, the chaser actually caught the chasee on the escalator, jumped on him, and got back whatever the person had stolen. At this point it dawned on me that it was probably an iPhone, given the recent increase in thefts of these devices over the past few months. Now, I figured it must have been the guy’s phone that was stolen. But as he turned around to come back into the metro station with the reclaimed device, the guy handed it back to a girl. She was completely shocked and obviously very thankful. This was a true act of kindness, for a complete stranger.

It is good to know that there are some decent people left in this world, and I was hoping that maybe if I wrote to you we could give this guy some kind of recognition for his actions. Also, the iPhone theft increase is no joke.”

While I don’t like hearing about the crimes, stories like this always amaze me. Much respect to the good Samaritan!

43 Comment

  • God bless him.

  • Hero of the day

  • Props, I hope to be able to do the same.

  • This totally brighted my day.

  • This brighted my day.

  • Very brave of him – agreed.

    But what if he’d gotten shot or stabbed in the process ? How would we be reacting ?

    • Yeah yeah, but….but he didn’t. So let’s accept this one bright moment of someone springing into action completely selflessly where so many of us (and I include myself) completely freeze when we do witness these events.

      • And accept it I shall !

        I guess my question is whether or not we actually want to encourage this kind of bravery going forward. How many iPhones is one human life worth ?

        • I’m willing to bet that the majority of these snatchers are unarmed. That’s why they’re snatching and running. I witnessed a guy grab a phone out of a fellows hand and saw the guy bolt after the robber. I was too stunned to do anything but got off at the next stop and went back and saw the fellow giving a police report. I told them what I had seen and luckily the snatchers were stupid opportunists and tried it again at Gallery Place and were caught. The phone owner emailed me the next day to let me know and thanked me for taking the time to help give a description which aided in helping catch the jerks.

          I’d like to think if I saw someone running at me I’d be brave enough to stop or help but I know that I just get caught in headlights at those moments. it’s a crappy trait to have.

  • that’s wonderful. I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do it myself (I’m fast and know martial arts, but I’m still a small woman, and you never know when the person is armed) but I’m glad someone did, and that the Samaritan was left unharmed.

    I hope someone was able to hold the thief til the police came!

  • There are a lot of decent people left in the world, but most of them aren’t willing to risk getting stabbed for an iPhone. Still, props to this guy.

  • I was just wondering recently, how does one make a citizens arrest? Can we handcuff someone with wire ties until the police arrives? What is involved and what are the legal risks? Do the same rules apply to juveniles as adults?

  • What happened to the perp? Please tell me he was arrested. Otherwise, he is just going to bring a gun or knife next time.

    • I can’t be sure, but I think he may have took off. Hopefully the guy who got the phone back will read this or maybe someone else who saw it will know.

    • Why would you bring a gun to snatch purses? Mugging and snatching are two very different kinds of crimes. I remember the Post did an article on snatchers and pickpockets years ago — those guys and gals are generally not violent.

  • Please start a “random act of kindness” feature. I love being reminded that there are still nice people in this world and particularly that there are still nice people in DC.

  • Another reason I’m happy not to have jumped on the iPhone bandwagon. I hate my iPod touch; you can’t use it with gloves on!

  • Good except he let the thief get away.

  • I think the guy was an idiot. No personal possession is worth chasing down and tackling a guy that has a better than average chance of having a gun or a knife and willing to use it. All’s well that ends well in this particular case, but if the guy had shot and killed the chaser, or paralyzed him, would the guy’s family, his dependents, be so thrilled with his random act of kindness? Over a material good.

    I hate crime, I hate theft, I hate robbers and criminals. But a purse or an iphone or a necklace or a wallet or whatever is not worth risking life and limb like that. No way. If someone I loved did that, I’d be concerned and wouldn’t want them to do it again.

    • Maybe the girl who had the phone snatched was cute.

    • If we let these thieves let go everytime just because the objects arent worth risking our lives for, they will just start robbing more and more people.

      The thief here probably wont stop doing this, but he will atleast think twice before trying to steal another iphone.

      Great going Mr. Hero for catching the thief!

      • That’s what we pay cops for. Next time you play hero, and get shot dead, I doubt your mourning family and friends (assuming you have some) will be satisfied that you died stopping more and more thieves stealing ipods.

  • Thank you, brave guy! I think that this fellow actually made a very smart decision, and that it is improbable he was at risk of being shot/stabbed. There is a big difference between the likely danger in standing up to a single villain in a crowded metro, versus the danger in attempting to stand up to an (probably) armed assailant when one is alone on the street. Further, if the non-villains in this town would stick together, and be willing to back each other up quickly and forcefully when needed, the danger would be greatly diminished (as would the number of incidents, most likely). It is the villain who should be the one asking himself if an iphone is worth the possibility of being tackled by a group of citizens. We must make this a credible worry that thugs have to contemplate. Note that I am not espousing violent vigilante justice…just action by united citizens willing to exercise the minimal amount of force necessary to stop a crime from happening.

  • Of course, if the thief died, people would be holding vigils and calling for the execution of the good samaritan.

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