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What do you do when you see a thief running towards you and his victim chasing him?

stylemeup

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Twice in my life now I have seen a thief running as fast as he can towards me with a bag that he just stole in his hands, with his victim chasing him like 20 feet behind and screaming at the thief. One time it was on the subway platform, presumably with a guy who left his bag at his feet or something and then the thief grabbed it and ran just as the train stopped and up the stairs and out of the station way before the victim could catch him; he got away. There was a parking officer right outside and the victim went and told him about what happened.

The other time it happened right on the street in the most rich district in the city near the main intersection of the city.; presumably that victim left his bag at his feet at a cafe or something and then the thief grabbed it. That thief just ran right across the street in the midst of traffic and his victim wasn't able to follow, thus he got away too. The victim in that case pulled out his cellphone after he realized he couldn't follow the thief into the oncoming traffic, presumably to call the police about this.

I did not intervene in these cases even though I probably could have tripped the thieves or punched them in the stomach or something. Because I figured I have no way to be 100% sure they aren't friends joking around with each other, I have no way to know what kind of weapons the thief has on him, I have no way to know if the victim is gonna help me and join in if I get into a fist fight with the thief, I don't know what the legal consequences would be if say I punched the thief in the stomach or tripped him as he was running by me, and I'd be putting myself in danger for a total stranger and wouldn't get anything out of it other than a "good going" and pat on the back or something.

I kind of feel bad for doing nothing to stop the thieves. On the other hand, it doesn't seem worth it to intervene. It would seem that thieves count on other bystanders to do nothing and they seem to have very good running/evasion rather than combat skills. I guess most people simply do nothing for similar reasons why I didn't? Then again, maybe thieves have some combat skills too?

What would you all do in situations such as this?
 

acidboy

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In a perfect world, I would have tripped a guy holding a ladies bag while someone's chasing after him. But I also understand how people freeze up, and I also understand how some people are scared of getting involved. Shit's like that, people react differently and I haven't been faced with a situation like that so I wouldn't know if I would stop a probable thief. I hope I could given the situation, so Uncle Ben Parker would be proud.
 

West24

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i would stop them, sit them down and kindly ask them to give the stolen item back. i would then lecture them on why steeling is wrong.
 

Toiletduck

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Once, I was walking down this slope when a presumed thief ran full speed into my back, knocking the wind out of me and causing me to fly a few feet and roll downhill a few times directly into broken glass. He got up and continued running. I have a scar on my hand from that. Bastard.
 

mbc

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If you reasonably believe it's actually a thief... clothesline that fucker.
 

Shraka

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There's only one way to deal with this kind of situation.
SHORYUKEN!
 

TyCooN

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There's actually some weird effect where people will more likely just be nothing but bystanders if there are a lot of other people around when something bad happens. We're less likely to react and playing hero, because we expect someone else to handle the trouble. I forgot the name.
 

bbaquiran

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Originally Posted by TyCooN
There's actually some weird effect where people will more likely just be nothing but bystanders if there are a lot of other people around when something bad happens. We're less likely to react and playing hero, because we expect someone else to handle the trouble. I forgot the name.

Kitty Genovese?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitty_Genovese
 

lee_44106

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Originally Posted by stylemeup
Twice in my life now I have seen a thief running as fast as he can towards me with a bag that he just stole in his hands, with his victim chasing him like 20 feet behind and screaming at the thief. One time it was on the subway platform, presumably with a guy who left his bag at his feet or something and then the thief grabbed it and ran just as the train stopped and up the stairs and out of the station way before the victim could catch him; he got away. There was a parking officer right outside and the victim went and told him about what happened.

The other time it happened right on the street in the most rich district in the city near the main intersection of the city.; presumably that victim left his bag at his feet at a cafe or something and then the thief grabbed it. That thief just ran right across the street in the midst of traffic and his victim wasn't able to follow, thus he got away too. The victim in that case pulled out his cellphone after he realized he couldn't follow the thief into the oncoming traffic, presumably to call the police about this.

I did not intervene in these cases even though I probably could have tripped the thieves or punched them in the stomach or something. Because I figured I have no way to be 100% sure they aren't friends joking around with each other, I have no way to know what kind of weapons the thief has on him, I have no way to know if the victim is gonna help me and join in if I get into a fist fight with the thief, I don't know what the legal consequences would be if say I punched the thief in the stomach or tripped him as he was running by me, and I'd be putting myself in danger for a total stranger and wouldn't get anything out of it other than a "good going" and pat on the back or something.

I kind of feel bad for doing nothing to stop the thieves. On the other hand, it doesn't seem worth it to intervene. It would seem that thieves count on other bystanders to do nothing and they seem to have very good running/evasion rather than combat skills. I guess most people simply do nothing for similar reasons why I didn't? Then again, maybe thieves have some combat skills too?

What would you all do in situations such as this?



A lot of reasons why lawyers are almost universally hated.
 

life_interrupts

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Years ago, I saw a woman about to get robbed -- guy walked up behind her pulling on a bandana, the whole bit. I stopped the car I was driving and ran up behind him as he was grabbing her bag. She was screaming at him, not letting go of him. When he heard my footsteps, he turned toward me, dropped the bag, then pushed her down and took off. Another guy going into his apartment saw the tail end and took off after the guy. I gave the woman her bag, at which point a crowd had formed.

It crossed my mind just as I approached the guy that he might be armed. Fortunately, he was more scared than I was. My girlfriend at the time called me an idiot for getting involved (it was her car. "But if it were you, I'd want someone to help," was my response. She still thought I was an idiot.
 

globetrotter

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the biggest issue is that you really, really have to be sure that you understand what is going on. you don't want to get in the middle of something that you have misinterpreted.
 

odoreater

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stab the motherfucker in the throat I would.
 

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