Three elderly women fought off a knife-wielding bandit who tried to snatch one of their handbags in Melbourne's east yesterday.
As the attacker held a knife to the throat of an 82-year-old woman and demanded her handbag, she kicked him in the leg and her 89-year-old friend hit him over the head with her own handbag.
One of the women's husbands then came to their aid and the attacker fled the multi-level car park in Malvern empty-handed.
Senior Constable David Millar said he was surprised by the actions of the elderly women, who were determined to protect their property.
''It was a pretty scary thing to go through, for even me, let alone an 82-year-old,'' Senior Constable Millar said.
''I wouldn't say she's feisty at all, she's just a nice old lady. She was pretty shaken up.
''I was surprised that they were so resolute with not letting him have the handbag and fighting back.''
He said two of the elderly women had parked in the Drysdale Street car park and were planning to buy some wine from a nearby bottle shop.
The 82-year-old bumped into one of her elderly relatives, 71, who was with her husband in the car park.
The three elderly women were chatting when the ''scruffy'' offender, aged between 50 and 55, approached them from a silver Mazda coupe.
''He just walked over, produced the knife and made a demand for the bag and then she has clutched her bag and refused to let it go,'' Senior Constable Millar said.
''He has held the knife to her throat and tried to grab it from her. She kicked him, I think in his leg.
''One of her friends then hit him over the head with her handbag.''
The 71-year-old's husband, who was sitting in a nearby car, yelled out and the attacker ran to his car.
''I don't know at what point he got a bit taken aback by it all, but I think it was a combination of everything really, a combination of a bit of resistance from the old ladies coupled with someone yelling at him to leave,'' Senior Constable Millar said.
The women managed to write down the registration of the silver Mazda coupe - TOA 542 - before the vehicle was driven away.
Police later discovered the vehicle had been stolen from Reservoir on May 21.
The 82-year-old woman received a small cut to her hand, which did not require medical treatment.
The offender is described as about 180 centimetres tall, aged between 50 and 55, with a solid build. He was unshaven, scruffy and wearing a black duffle coat and grey baseball cap.
- The Age