Good Samaritans help nab Phoenix purse thief

Posted at 11:27 AM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 01:49:01-04

Police have arrested a man accused of trying to steal an 80-year-old woman’s purse.

The incident happened Sunday at a grocery store near 32nd Avenue and Bell Road.

Court documents say John Scala walked up to the woman and told her he was going to take her purse. The woman held on, fell, and was allegedly dragged for 34 feet.

A nearby witness pushed an empty shopping cart toward Scala to get him to stop. Scala was eventually tackled by a homeless veteran, according to documents, who tried to hold him down until police arrived.

Scala was able to get away and ran to a nearby house, documents said.

That home is David Fox's.

“Oy! What are you doing?" is how Fox relayed what he said to Scala.

Fox is from Australia.

Fox, with the help of another Good Samaritan who had followed from the store, cornered the suspect. Scala was held until police arrived.

Fox was left with questions.

“When did that series of decisions begin?" Fox said he asked himself.

“Because he didn’t wake up Sunday morning and say, ‘I’m going to mug some old lady and end up face down in the gravel [of] some guy’s backyard.'”

Fox said he found a syringe and spoon in the backyard where the suspect had struggled with him.

The 80-year-old woman apparently held onto her purse throughout the ordeal, documents said.