Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Elderly: Easy Pickings

"[Mrs. Harris said she reached over and put the business end of her cane] at his crotch and said, 'stay still."
"I didn't push it into him", [but held it against his genitals knowing that if he moved, he would get hurt. "That's an ice pick. I'm sure it would sting."
Janie Harris, Toronto resident
Janie Harris, 70, and Chin-Hua Chen, 70,  two seniors who helped rescue their elderly neighbour from being attacked on Sunday.
Tyler Anderson/National Post    Janie Harris, 70, and Chin-Hua Chen, 70, two seniors who helped rescue their elderly neighbour from being attacked on Sunday.
Not exactly an ice pick, but something resembling an ice pick on the end of a "hiking stick", used by Mrs. Harris when she ventures out on snowy, icy city sidewalks during the winter months. Nothing like it to grab into the ice and secure footing. Far better to be encumbered by such a hiking stick than end up in hospital with a broken limb or two. As a senior, breaking a leg or an arm isn't a good idea, since healing takes immeasurably longer with frail bones and an age-compromised ability to recuperate.

Some householders of a suspicious bent keep a baseball bat within easy reach of their front door. Never can tell. Mrs. Harris keeps her trusty hiking stick in easy reach, just in case she might forget to take it along when she ventures out-of-doors for a walk or to do a little shopping in her Toronto neighbourhood. Just as well she does. It aided immeasurably in convincing a would-be robber-assailant that he would do best to remain still.

Even in the presence of the elderly; a trio of elderly, to be precise. Of course another resident of the apartment building, Chin-Hua Chen, though 70, is pretty fit. He's a dedicated runner during the clement months, bar winter. And he just happened to be wearing his "cross-trainers with good grips; they are good for sprinting", he explained, as he headed off in swift pursuit of a man who had just assaulted another neighbour, Mrs. Ye.

How it all began was when Ms. Ye had returned to the apartment building where she lives, arms full of grocery bags. A stranger, unauthorized to enter the building, slipped in right behind her into the lobby. The security doors are meant to keep non-residents out, but there's a delay in the door-closings to ensure adequate time for older people to hustle themselves through the doors. She wasn't alarmed seeing him, because he had courteously offered help with with her groceries.

As it happened, Mr. Chen entered at roughly the same time, not recognizing the stranger as a building occupant, but thinking, when he saw the man help Mrs. Ye with her shopping bags, that he was with her. They entered the elevator together, and disembarked together on the fifth floor. Mr. Chen proceeded down the hall to his apartment, and then turned back when he heard a "loud scream", alert and prepared to react.

The stranger, evidently had demanded money of Mrs. Ye, and she responded negatively, so he pushed her and she pushed him right back. Which helped momentarily, but then the man took possession of Mrs. Ye's purse, and not quite finished, tried to pull the wedding ring off her finger. Unsuccessfully as it happened, leaving her finger dislocated.
Chin-Hua Chen
Neighbours Chin-Hua Chen, right, and Janie Harris visit their 82-year-old neighbour Tuesday, February 25, 2014. The woman suffered a dislocated finger during an attempted robbery over the weekend. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun)
The stranger then immediately loped off down the hallway and into a stairwell at a frantic clip. With Mr. Chen hot in pursuit. Enter the unexpected: a homeless man happened to be sleeping in the stairwell, and in the panic of the rushed exit the robber tripped over the sleeping man, giving a few minutes' advantage to Mr. Chen. "That maybe two seconds of stumbling let [Mr. Chen] grab his coat", explained Mrs. Harris.

Mrs. Ye's handbag was dropped in the ensuing melee, as Mr. Chen and the intruder punched at one another. The commotion alerted Mrs. Harris and another resident, Tony who joined the fray. The three stout-hearted seniors were successful in subduing the man whom police later identified as 52-year-old Sahadevan Muttiah. They trapped him wound up in his own sweater until police made their arrival.

Mr. Muttiah has been charged with robbery, assault causing bodily harm, mischief under $5,000 and assault. And in the process gained a valuable life lesson; not to underestimate the resourcefulness and determination of his elders.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet