A school sports coach helped a 91-year-old woman recover her gold necklace on Sunday by outrunning a thief who had grabbed it from her, Chiayi City police said on Monday.
Lin Tsung-han (林宗翰), 30, is a sports teacher at Jhuci High School. Lin said he and his fiancee were driving to Chiayi to visit a relative when he saw a man, 39-year-old Du Chun-yi (杜俊義), snatch the elderly woman’s necklace from her neck. Because the woman, surnamed Kuo (郭), fell down, Lin asked his fiancee to take care of her while he chased the thief on foot.
Lin took off his sandals and ran barefoot.
“I ran while shouting: ‘Stop running! I am a sports coach and you cannot get away, give back the necklace!’” Lin said.
The teacher said he and Du ran about 200m until the latter collapsed and asked Lin to stop chasing him. Du took out the necklace from his pocket, gave it to Lin and begged him not to call the police, Lin said.
While Lin was thinking about what to do, Du fled.
Lin then ran back and returned the necklace to the woman. However, a gold Kuanyin (觀音) pendant that hung from the necklace was gone.
They went to the police, who later caught Du using Lin’s description. According to the police, Du had been caught stealing in large hospitals before and had a record of larceny and drug possession.
Du, who had been released from prison two months ago, was quoted by police as saying that he had pawned the pendant for NT$4,900 after he managed to flee from Lin. He then used the money to buy heroin and had only NT$900 left.
Kuo, who has lived alone since her son left home and moved to the north of the country, was calm after the robbery. She did not blame Du for what he had done when she saw him at the police station, but thanked Lin profusely for helping her.
The police also praised Lin for his heroic act.