Woman witnesses robbery at Phoenix apartment, helps catch suspects

Posted at 4:54 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 22:06:02-04

Fearless action by a Phoenix woman has led to the arrest of two men involved in multiple robberies.

Ruby Byrd is credited for helping lead police to the suspects after she caught them red-handed gutting an empty apartment next to her unit.

Byrd said police told her the men may be linked to several other robberies in the Valley. She decided to go after the suspects after becoming victimized by the group at least twice. In the last few months she has had electricity and bicycles stolen from her property.

According to Byrd, she recognized the thieves as friends of a former neighbor whom she described as a meth addict. The woman was evicted a couple weeks ago, and was a suspect under investigation for stealing electricity from Byrd's unit.

"I was woken by a loud banging."  That was just after 5 a.m. according to Byrd.

She initially thought it might have been contractors at work, but later when she walked out of her apartment she saw a truck that she recognized as being associated to her former neighbor. It belonged to that tenant who had been evicted.

A few minutes later she saw the men coming out of the empty apartment.

"They came running out of her apartment," Byrd said. "They had things in their hands. They put it in the truck bed. They stole water heaters, they stole a kitchen sink, they stole a lot of things."

She had parked her car parallel to the truck to block it from leaving, but Byrd said the men drove around her and went onto the gravel to get away.

"They even smiled and waved at me as they were leaving," Byrd said.

However, she wasn't quite ready to say goodbye.

"I live here," Byrd explained. I take it very seriously. I've had two bicycles missing with a value of $1,600. A neighbor had her wheelchair stolen. At this point the tenants here decided that we're not going to put up with this anymore."

She made the decision to follow the suspects' vehicle.

"When it comes to drug addicts and stealing, I feel like you can't easily recuperate your losses so I made the decision to follow them," Byrd said. "I wanted to see where they lived or where they were dropping off the stolen goods."

She stayed after them for more than five blocks, on the phone with dispatchers along the way, giving them the truck's license plate number.

Moments later, Phoenix police arrested the men at their apartment. Byrd then had the daunting task of facing the men for second time, to identify them.

"I had a lot of anxiety about identifying them but at the end of the day, it's more important to put someone behind bars because they're stealing," Byrd said.

Police have not released the suspects' names at this time.