PHOENIX (CBS Local) — An Arizona man caught on camera forcing a woman out of her wheelchair and attempting to run away with it is in custody, police said.
Austin Brett Shurbutt, 26, was arrested after the Phoenix Police Department released surveillance video that allegedly showed him dumping the woman out of her wheelchair and trying to steal it.
It happened on Friday, Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, on the city’s light rail train near 12th and Jefferson streets, CBS affiliate KPHO reported.
The suspect wearing a red hoodie sweatshirt, blue jeans and reindeer slippers, grabbed the woman’s wheelchair and tried to dump her from the chair, according to police.
The one bright spot: Our holiday crook didn’t get away with the wheelchair. Heroes on the train came to the rescue, getting the chair back within seconds. Let’s catch him! Tips to https://t.co/hF4eXJ45F8. pic.twitter.com/EzR92qIGUP
— Phoenix Police Department (@phoenixpolice) December 7, 2019
The victim resisted and a slight scuffle ensued. She screamed for help and fell from her wheelchair during the struggle.
Shurbutt pushed the wheelchair off the train, police said. But passengers intervened and grabbed the chair from Shurbutt, who then ran off.
“The one bright spot: Our holiday crook didn’t get away with the wheelchair,” police tweeted. “Heroes on the train came to the rescue, getting the chair back within seconds. Let’s catch him!”
Police said they tracked down Shurbutt days after “thousands” of people shared his image online.
Investigators said he had two outstanding warrants and was booked on several charges, including robbery, attempt to kidnap, assault and vulnerable adult abuse.