A South Florida woman says she was mugged by someone who explained that he needed money for school clothes.
Angie Barnaby shopped at the Burlington Coat Factory at Sawgrass Mills and was heading back to her car in the parking lot when she was assaulted Sunday evening, she said.
"All of a sudden I was being choked by my chain being yanked off my neck,” she said.
The person tugging on the other end of the necklace couldn’t have been more than 22 years old, Barnaby estimated. Despite her fear, she stayed calm.
"I said let it go – I'll give it to you. Just let it go,” she said.
It was then that the suspect provided an explanation for what he was doing, she said.
"I couldn't believe it – he had a look and he said I need money for school clothes,” Barnaby recalled.
She said the 15-year-old necklace was a gift from her husband. It cost about $350, but held great sentimental value for her, and the pendant hanging from it was a cross.
"I'm angry but I'm more sad he felt he has to resort to these measures,” she said.
The man, who wore all black, didn’t run away from the mall, but instead ran right back inside, Barnaby said.
Sunrise Police quickly responded, and on surveillance video saw the man re-entering the mall. The loss prevention team at one store described him as acting in a suspicious manner, according to a police report.
Police have not made an arrest.
Barnaby, who was left with marks on her neck, said she worries that the suspect could try to hurt someone else in a desperate act. She said she was lucky.
"This could have gone much more terribly wrong for a necklace,” she said.