Julian Surall was working at Ike’s Love and Sandwich Shop in Modesto, Calif., on Friday when he noticed a woman out front screaming as she fended off a man trying to steal her handbag. Surall and two customers ran outside to help the woman, a mom who had her 3-year-old toddler with her in a stroller.
Victoria FitzGerald told the Bee that she and her son had planned to eat at Ike’s when they were approached by a man asking for directions to a local supermarket. When FitzGerald stopped to help, he grabbed her handbag from the stroller and took off, but tripped in the process.
“I grabbed my purse, but then he raced to pull it away from me, and we were both pulling on it and I just thought, I don’t have the strength; he is going to get my purse,” FitzGerald told the newspaper. “Then I stuck my foot in the loop of my purse … and I started screaming for help, and that’s when the man ran away and Julian came out of Ike’s and went running after him.”
Surall and the two customers split up in their pursuit of the suspect, who eventually fled to the bathroom of a nearby business, Modesto Advanced Imaging Center. Surall followed him into the shop, notifying workers to call the police. One of the Ike’s customers joined him inside, and together they captured and pinned the man to the ground until police arrived.
Stephen Bartlett, 34, was arrested on suspicion of robbery.
FitzGerald, who previously knew Surall only via the sandwich shop, is grateful for his heroics.
“I said to him, ‘You’re a hero,’ and he said, ‘Nah,’” she said. “Most people would not help. He’s so young. That’s what really shocked me.”
“I’ve always been like that,” Surall told the paper. “That’s the way our parents raised us … if you can help somebody, you do that.
“The lady was with her kid; that is the thing that really caught me by surprise,” he added. “Broad daylight and she was with her child … so disrespectful.”
Modesto police are also celebrating Surall’s actions.
His employer also took to Facebook to quip, “Not all heroes wear capes, they also make sandwiches!”
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