A simple dog walk turned to an attempt at vigilante justice Monday as an Oakland, Calif., resident helped a 90-year-old woman catch the man who allegedly knocked her down outside an Arco Convenience store and stole her wallet.
Robb Revelli, 36, was outside the store with his dog when he said he saw a man tackle the elderly woman to the ground and take off with her wallet.
“She was screaming because she was in pain, and yelling about her hip,” Revelli said. “I was worried she was seriously injured, but luckily, she was OK.”
Revelli said he asked the woman if she wanted him to take her to the hospital.
“I was worried that she was hurt, but she wanted to catch him in her car, so we took up after him,” he said. “As soon as I saw him, I gunned it and chased him into the neighborhood nearby.”
After climbing two fences, Revelli said he captured the alleged attacker, 27-year-old Damarea Johnson, in the backyard of a home. He wrestled Johnson and pinned him to the ground, holding him there for 10 minutes until the police came.
“People were looking over the fence, but were not doing anything to help me out,” Revelli said. “The old lady in the car was pretty much my partner. She’s the one who called the police. She is the one who trusted a stranger to drive her car and find this guy. She’s the hero.”
The Oakland Tribune reported that this was the third Good Samaritan act to happen within a six-hour period Monday, resulting in three arrests. All three suspects, including Johnson, have been charged with robbery or attempted robbery.
Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said Johnson allegedly started throwing money at Revelli, trying to coax him into letting him go.
Revelli said Johnson then claimed he was “wrongfully attacked” and denied he had stolen the wallet from the woman.
“It was so obvious it was him, because I made sure to notice what he was wearing,” Revelli said. “He was wearing a gray sweatsuit and black shoes with red bottoms. I made sure to remember those two things.”
The victim said she had been visiting family when she took a wrong turn and got lost. She pulled into the convenience store parking lot to get directions when Johnson allegedly attacked her.
“I’ve lived in Oakland my whole life, and unfortunately, it is common around here,” Revelli said. “I got so angry about it, and I knew that I was going to catch him. I don’t know who gets a thought like that, to attack an elderly person. It makes me feel sick.”
Watson commended Monday’s Good Samaritans for their efforts but warned that ”individual safety should always come first.”
“You don’t have to chase the person down, but at least calling the police or picking out what the person is wearing, all helps,” Revelli said. “Any little thing counts. You don’t have to be a superhero just try to do something, because everyone clams up and doesn’t talk to police. More people need to stand up and help each other out.”