A community-spirited man who helped catch a wallet snatcher in Market Harborough says he wants to use his reward money to return the 79-year-old victim’s stolen cash.
Steve Daly (54) a former rugby player in the town, sprang into action when he met the victim of a robbery in the town.
Father-of-two Steve said: “I was walking from Walcot Road by the river towards Northampton Road when I passed an elderly gentleman with a walking frame looking quite distressed.
“He told me ‘that man has stolen my wallet’, and I saw the guy in combat shorts and a hoodie walking quickly away into Welland Park. Basically, I went after him.”
Steve caught up with the robber just before the park bandstand.
“I was going to rugby tackle him to the ground, but then I saw him chatting to another burly gentleman, so I videoed him instead and told him I was going to send the video to the police.”
After an altercation with his friend, the robber ran off.
That was on June 16 – but last week at Leicester Crown Court, the robber – unemployed, 38-year-old James Smith, from Market Harborough, was jailed for 12 months.
He had admitted stealing the pensioner’s wallet, containing £45 in cash.
Crown Court judge Robert Brown said in court: “Without Mr Daly, this defendant probably would not have been caught.”
The judge awarded Mr Daly a £250 reward for his public spirited action.
The court heard that the theft had happened at around 11.30am on Saturday June 16.
Smith had told his 79-year-old victim, who uses a walking frame, that he had chewing gum on his trousers, While pretending to help his victim, he then took the man’s wallet.
After robbing the elderly man, Smith had taunted “you can’t run after me mate”.
Passer-by Steve Daly could though. He not only caught up with and filmed the thief, but picked him out in an identity video at a police station.
In court. Judge Brown told robber Smith that he had committed “a mean offence against an elderly person”
Smith said, over a video link from prison, that he was sorry for the offence, and that he had relapsed into drug use after his marriage broke down.
Steve, a fitness enthusiast who also spent 24 years in the Armed Forces reserves said: “I don’t think I was brave. The incident just enraged me.
“I was particularly angry that the thief had taunted a man with a walking frame.”
Because Smith had pleaded guilty, Steve didn’t have too appear in Crown Court to give evidence. But he said: “I got a phone call telling me that Smith had pleaded guilty and got 12 months – and also that the court had made a reward order for my assistance of £250.
Steve said he was “amazed” at the reward, but added there was still one thing he wanted to do. “I’d like to have a chat with the man who was robbed, perhaps buy him a pint, and give him his £45 back out of the reward money” he said.