A witness put himself in danger as he confronted suspects after seeing a 71-year-old woman attacked at a Pembroke Pines car dealership Monday, police said.
Richard Shifflet was on his way to a job in his work truck Monday morning when he saw something out of the corner of his eye that drove him to action.
"He might have just hit her with his hand. I think it was in the right shoulder because I think she had the purse here, and as she went back, that's when he snatched,” Shifflet said, adding that he dragged her down to the ground.
The victim was walking north on a sidewalk along on the 200 block of South Douglas Road by the Maroone Nissan dealership when suspect Jeffrey Jeremiah Miller, 19, walked past her, then circled back and attacked her, Pembroke Pines Police said.
"I watched this happen and it totally disgusted me,” Shifflet said. “I got an 80-year-old mother. I would hate if that happened to my mother.”
Miller jumped into a waiting black Chevy Malibu parked at the dealership, with two men and a woman, all about 20 years old, inside the alleged getaway car, according to police.
But Shifflet would not stand idly by. The Good Samaritan said he and another driver blocked in the Chevy Malibu in with their vehicles. The driver found a way out through the service plaza, but not before Miller allegedly took off running.
Shifflet said the 19-year-old even tried to return the stolen goods.
"This kid came back to the lady that he robbed, gave her the purse back and said someone dared him to do it,” he said.
Miller was arrested nearby and faces charges of strong arm robbery and battery on a person 65 years old or older, police said. He was being held on $9,000 bond at the Broward County Mail Jail Monday night, according to online jail records. It wasn’t immediately known whether he has an attorney.
No one put Shifflet up to his brave, though albeit risky actions. He said he simply did what felt right. He even helped police identify the aggressor. For him, the thank you he got from the victim was recognition enough.
"She gave me a hug – that was it right there, that to me that's all I needed,” he said. “She was OK, that was the main thing.”
Pembroke Pines Police said the suspects who fled dumped additional stolen property from similar robberies that happened in the jurisdictions of North Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County.
As police continue to investigate, they are searching for a black, four-door older model Chevrolet Malibu.
Authorities ask anyone with information on the case to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.