A Public Shaming for a Foiled Purse-snatcher

Flickr: zach kowalczyk

Metro riders waiting for their train. Wholly unrelated to this story, but it's a neat picture.

In case you haven’t already heard this story, I want to put it on your radar. Yesterday, TBD writer Dave Jamieson witnessed something extraordinary at the Foggy Bottom metro station; a kid grabbed a woman’s purse, a concerned citizen ran after the boy and caught him, and then, a metro employee yelled at the immobilized culprit!

Once we made it out on the platform, a dozen or so passengers had formed a circle near the base of the escalator steps. (This is where the video above begins.) At the center of the circle was the boy who’d grabbed the purse, wrapped up by a good samaritan who’d run him down. The man, who was middle-aged and broad-shouldered, clearly wasn’t trying to hurt the kid, as the video makes clear. He just wanted to hold him until the authorities showed up…Meanwhile, the boy, who looked to be about 15, pleaded to be let go. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m sorry. I apologize,” he said. The victim stood nearby with the purse that had been grabbed, looking mortified. “I said I’m sorry,” the kid went on.

…another Metro employee arrived on the scene. He ordered the boy to sit on the ground and wait until transit police arrived. Then, as the video shows around the 1:25 mark, he gave the kid a public scolding.

“There ain’t no apologizing, son,” he said. “It’s too late to apologize. You can apologize to transit [police] when they get here.” He shamed the kid for robbing a woman. “You’ve got a mother at home. You don’t take money from a lady,” he went on. “You’re gonna learn something tonight.”

The good samaritan was too shy to give this reporter his name, asking only to be identified as a “concerned citizen.” Whether it was legal for the guy to hold the boy like he did I’m not sure. But considering how long it took for officers to arrive, those three kids would’ve been drinking milkshakes at Potbelly’s on that lady’s dime if Concerned Citizen hadn’t acted quickly.

This wasn’t lost on the Metro employee who ordered the boy to sit. “That’s why they do it,” he said of the thieves. “Because usually nobody does anything.”

Not only is the entire account over at TBD, there’s a video, too!