The best and worst of humanity was on show in Ayr last Sunday (June 14) as random strangers rallied to detain a thief who had allegedly stolen from a pensioner.

Last week, we reported how 80-year-old Anne Dick, who had only recently begun venturing out of the house again after months of isolation, was allegedly robbed of her bag as she sat doing her crossword on a bench near Ayr beach.

Fortunately, some heroic passers-by who witnessed the theft chased down the alleged robber and retrieved Anne’s bag.

One of those who helped to apprehend him was local man Craig Shearer.

Craig, 28, told us of how he witnessed the alleged theft and that intervening came “automatically” to him.

He said: “I was out for a walk and had taken a seat on a bench. I saw the thief when I was approaching, sporting a black puffer jacket on a 24 degree day, unkempt and scruffy looking. He was pacing up and down the path where the woman was sitting.

“Suddenly he snatched the woman’s bag and ran. It was an automatic reaction to jump up and chase the man.”

Craig was not alone in the pursuit though. A husband and wife team were also on the scene.

“I saw people run after the guy and I quickly took the decision to run up the adjacent street to cut him off in case he managed to outrun the others. It was a group effort,” said Craig.

The alleged thief was eventually caught by the husband and wife at the Blue Triangle Housing Association on Charlotte Street. He denied everything and refused to hand over the bag saying the bulge protruding from underneath his jumper was just rubbish, until the wife put him into a choke hold and retrieved the bag from him.

Craig said: “It felt amazing to see this man being caught, the victim was so relieved and very very thankful. I spoke with the husband and wife afterwards and they were also ecstatic that we caught him.

Arlene Bovill, Anne’s daughter said that they had “restored our faith in the public and we want to let [them] know how thankful we are... The fact that there was a happy ending has given her confidence to go out again.”

Craig said: “The lady does not need to thank us, I’m sure anyone in our position would do the same. It’s a pleasure to help get another perpetrator off the street and I wish her well. It’s amazing to see people coming together to help each other out.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed : “A 43-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection and [was] due to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court on 15th June 2020. No other person was charged.”


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