Driver tackles man, retrieves backpack and wins a free dinner

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014
Fabiola Garcia

RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL: Robert Lloyd came to Fabiola Garcia’s rescue after she had a backpack with her money stolen as she was closing up her Mexican food stall.

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Fabiola Garcia would have lost a day's earnings had a good samaritan not leapt from his car and tackled an alleged armed bag snatcher.

The business owner was closing her Mexican food stall, Las Flores, in Riccarton Rd, Christchurch, when she noticed a man sneaking off with her backpack.

Police allege he had stolen it from her car, which was parked nearby, about 1.30pm on Sunday.

Garcia chased the alleged thief, yelling and screaming for help as he ran east across Deans Ave.

A passing motorist saw her distressed, parked his car, gave chase, tackled the man to the ground in Hagley Park and retrieved the backpack, police said.

Detective Sergeant Grant Collins said the alleged thief then pulled a kitchen knife from his pocket, which the motorist wrestled from his grasp and threw away.

"He's acted instinctively and grabbed it," Collins said.

The alleged thief then took off through the park with the motorist following at a distance and "continued to try to evade capture".

Members of the public saw him hiding under a bridge in the Avon River before he was eventually spotted by police near Christchurch Hospital and arrested.

Garcia said she was "eternally grateful" the motorist came to her aid. The backpack contained her day's earnings and electronic equipment.

"He [the motorist] didn't think twice about helping and that was a big deal for me," she said. "He will be welcome in my store to have some dinner any time."

Collins said the motorist did the right thing. He wasn't to know the alleged thief was carrying a knife.

"He's gone out and acted in a way . . . which is commendable. Police are thankful that he's intervened and was able to recover the woman's property."

Collins urged people to consider their own safety when intervening. If they had any doubts they should contact police immediately.

Daniel Michael Moynihan, 32, appeared in the District Court yesterday charged with theft from a car and aggravated assault.

He was remanded in custody to appear by video link from prison on August 4.

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- The Press

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