It was going to take someone with courage to challenge the two youths who were smashing their way into a jewelry shop with sledgehammers.
But of the 50 people watching in broad daylight, he may not have been the obvious one to step forward. A pensioner, thought to be in his 70s, walked up to one of the robbers in mid-swing and plucked the balaclava from his head.
As the youths fled, he shouted: “I’ve got your DNA.”
The pensioner then hopped on board a bus and slipped away before anyone had a chance to congratulate him.
The spectacle took place on George Street in Richmond, southwest London, on Thursday. The sequence of events was recorded on camera by another shopper who took a photograph of the robber after his balaclava was removed. It has been handed over to the police.
The pedestrian, who wore a red poppy in his coat lapel, has still not been identified.
Scotland Yard said it was appealing for witnesses to the robbery.
“While not taking anything away from the bravery shown by this individual,” a spokesman said, “we would always advise people to concern themselves with their own safety before anything else.”
The two raiders, he confirmed, had been “challenged by a man walking past who pulled off a balaclava worn by one of the men.”
The suspects escaped in a silver car that “drove off in the direction of Richmond magistrates’ court.”
They were described as aged between 18 and 20.
Staff at the Ernest Jones jewelry shop on George Street said it was the third time the premises had been targeted. On previous occasions, in June and August, robbers escaped with Rolex watches.
Nick Thompson, whose office overlooks the shop, said the robbers were “stunned” by the old man’s intervention.
“The girls in the office heard a commotion and when we went to the window we saw these two guys with sledgehammers breaking the windows,” he said. “The glass must have been a lot tougher than they thought. There were about 50 people at the bus stop next door just watching in shock. Then this old guy — he looked smart and had a poppy on — just walked up behind one of the guys and pulled off his balaclava. The robbers turned round and seemed quite startled and dropped the sledgehammers and ran up the lane around the corner to the green.”
Thompson, director of Projector Point, which sells home cinemas, said the man “seemed quite calm and not doddery. He was probably the unlikeliest person they thought would stop them.”
The pensioner, he said, “was really cool.”
One of the sales assistants at Ernest Jones, Homaria, said there had been raids on the shop during the summer.
“I’ve got used to it,” she said, “though it was really scary when I was here.”
A spokesman for Ernest Jones said the company wanted to reward the elderly man with a Rolex for his bravery: “Obviously our top priority is the safety of our customers and staff.”
RALLYING A DEFENSE: Former envoys wrote an op-ed piece defending Anna Lindstedt, who was removed for attempting to free Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai in China Sweden’s former ambassador to Beijing goes on trial in Stockholm on Friday for allegedly overstepping her mandate by trying to negotiate the release of a Chinese-Swedish dissident held in China. Anna Lindstedt is accused of brokering an unauthorized meeting during her time as ambassador to free publisher Gui Minhai (桂民海). Lindstedt — a veteran envoy who had previously represented Sweden in both Vietnam and Mexico, and acted as Sweden’s chief negotiator at the 2015 climate summit in Paris — has denied the charges. Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
‘LEAST WE CAN DO’: The gesture was made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality that targeted minorities They are images that surprised and moved Americans: police officers taking a knee alongside protesters in the most widespread civil unrest to rock the US in decades — and in doing so embracing an anti-racism gesture denounced by US President Donald Trump. As Trump pushes for a crackdown on often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, police officers from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, Texas, are making gestures of solidarity with demonstrators incensed at the latest case of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody. “I took off the helmet and laid the batons down. Where do
From boiled catfish soup to spicy fried frog, an eight-year-old in pyjamas and a chef’s hat is delighting Myanmar with her culinary prowess in a nation still being told to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moe Myint May Thu’s mother posted a video online at the end of April showing off her daughter’s skills as the youngster threw together some spicy fried prawns. With her wide, gap-toothed grin, the video has bounced across social media and brought stardom to the child along with an online moniker: “Little Chef.” She now sells dishes to order and is counting the dividends. “I just