I-Team: Street justice after 72-year-old woman robbed outside church

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has found a 72-year-old woman got robbed outside her church Sunday, but she then ended up getting some street justice.

The victim told the I-Team she walked around her car to walk into church when a man with a knife jumped her and demanded her purse.

It happened outside the Cleveland Korean Presbyterian Church on Pearl Road.

The victim said, “I'm afraid to open the door (for) anybody now. I'm so scared, you know?” She added, "Somebody showed up and pulled a knife on (me). And he said, ‘Gimme your handbag.’ So I gave him the handbag. He had a knife.”

Chilling, but just a few feet away inside the church, Paris Valles said he was on his knees praying, and, “I heard, ‘Help! Call 911.’”

Valles hit the street, didn’t think twice about trying to find that robber. He told the I-Team, "At our church, your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, somebody tries to hurt them, you think you're gonna step in and help them."

Cleveland police scrambled to the scene, too. But Valles quickly found the crook, and another citizen even jumped in to help.

Valles told us, "I pulled up on him and said, ‘Hey!’ and he shook, and he turned, and the purse fell out of his pocket and gave him away. So I tried to apprehend him. He was a little feisty guy, and another neighbor helped."

When the citizen crimefighters had the robber on the ground, they let up for a moment when they heard police were on their way. The bad guy took advantage and took off again. He ran into a house. Police didn’t find him there. But they did come up with a name of a suspect. And those citizens, at least, got back the purse.

Turns out, even the chief of the CMHA Police Department showed up on scene off-duty. He happened to be in the area and heard the commotion. Andres Gonzalez joined in recovering the purse, and he congratulated those citizens for trying to make a difference.

The victim spoke about her fellow church member, saying, “But that guy was a hero. I’m so scared. I have to be more alert.”

When we reminded Paris Valles he could’ve gotten hurt, he answered, “I believe I had God on my side.”

The case has been referred to second district detectives for follow-up investigation.

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