Held Up

Last week a friend of mine who lives about four blocks away from me got mugged. Paul was by his car in the alley behind his house when four kids looking about 14 or 15 years old approached him and asked for the time. He looked at his wristwatch, and before he had a chance to look back up one of the kids had a gun pulled on him, pointed at his knees. The kids told Paul to give them his [expletive-expletive] money. When he tried to reason with them, the armed kid cocked the gun and pointed it at Paul’s head.

So, Paul did what any other reasonable adult would do: he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He tried to pull the cash out of it for the muggers, but one of the kids came up and snatched the wallet with everything in it—credit cards, driver’s license, debit cards, cash.

What Paul did next, though, was not at all expected. As one of the kids approached him, Paul instinctively grabbed him and threw him to the ground. The others fled, and the stunned boy lying on the road picked himself up and ran after them. Paul reached for his phone, dialed 911, and told the operator his situation and location while pursuing the perps on foot. The operator asked if they were armed. Paul said yes. The operator said, “Then STOP CHASING THEM.” So he stopped.

Despite Paul’s gutsy attempt to track the kids and find out where they were going, the police never did catch them. A couple days later, similarly described kids tried to break into another neighbor’s house. Fortunately, however, they were foiled by the woman from across the street, who came at them wielding a kitchen knife.

I’m amazed by the courage of my neighbors, and I’m grateful that people like Paul and Pat are a part of my community.

Coincidentally, David Copperfield (the magician, not the Dickens character) was also robbed at gunpoint by four kids recently. But Copperfield was in Palm Beach, and the kids didn’t get his money. After snatching the purses of two of Copperfield’s friends, one of the robbers, Riley, demanded Copperfield’s money. Instead of giving it to him, Copperfield used a little of his trademark legerdemain: “He pulled out all of his pockets for Riley to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them.” As the kids sped away in a Chevy Malibu, Copperfield noted the license plate and called the police, who managed to apprehend the kids within 10 minutes. Read the article in the Palm Beach Post.

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5 Responses to Held Up

  1. Diane says:

    well, i sure read THAT entry, Karl. Time to move to a safe place, like the suburbs of Pittsburgh, perhaps.
    What i would do in that situation? kitchen knife? chase? i would only hope that i could be courageous — but my guess is i’d be catatonic.
    i had read about David Copperfield, too. i think his assistant was successfully robbed, not having learned from her (his?) smart boss. who knew being able to hide airplanes had a practical application?

  2. Karl says:

    Hey Diane! Thanks for the comment. Can’t move, though. As GW Bush might say, if we move, the terrorists win. As for the assistant, they did snatch her purse, but she got it back when the cops nabbed the crooks.

  3. Jason Harrod says:

    I love that David Copperfield story. I imagine the would-be thief shaking his fist and saying “I’ll get you Copperfield!”
    You guys be safe!

  4. Drew MacDougall says:

    Hi Karl,
    I can definitely relate to the events Paul experienced. When I was living in the Hyde Park section of Chicago (late 90s), a friend and I were mugged by 2 large males at gunpoint, on the way back from Walgreen’s. I was the one who had the gun pointed against my forehead. They demanded money, my friend Claudia had none on hand, so I proceeded to hand over my cash. As I was reaching for my wallet, which was in the breastpocket of my coat, the assailant holding the gun at my head became anxious and agitated, saying, “What are you doing? I’ll kill you if you have a gun.” Apparently, he thought I was reaching for a gun. I assured him it was my wallet I was reaching for. He took my wallet, and strangely, our groceries as well. He then told Claudia and I, “Turn around, walk away very slowly. As I walked nervously away, I considered the possibility that I could be shot from behind. I was not ready to die, and I was actually pissed off that I might end up dead. Some 500 feet later I reached my apartment, and my fear had turned into shock and homicidal anger. I had been VIOLATED. For the next month I would occasionally see men who I thought resembled my gun toting assailant. In those moments, my suppressed anger was so bitter that I feared I was becoming a racist.
    In my situation, unfortunatley, one of the men wore a skimask, the other wore a hooded jacket, and it was midnight. Despite the fact that the Chicago police had someone in a patrol car for me to identify 3 hours after the mugging, and despite the fact that I had looked at suspect photos at the police station, identifying them clearly was difficult.
    The only good outcome of the situation was that my groceries and wallet (minus $40)were recovered in a nearby bush.

  5. Chris Cooter says:

    Hey Karl. Years ago my parents and i were in philly at a Mcdonalds- WAY TOO LATE in the evening when 2 guys tried to snatch my moms pocketbook. My mom didn’t let him have it, but it scared me alot. As for now, I wholeheartedly believe in ones right to carry a firearm for ones own protection and others. Criminals are more afraid of coming up against an armed “Robbee” than a dog. Just food for thought. and remember- Guns kill people like spoons made rosie O’Donnell fat!
    Thanks and I am NOT politically correct!

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