A cyclist in Poland who heard a young woman whose purse had been stolen shouting for help chased after the two thieves, knocking them to the ground to prevent them from escaping. Footage of the incident, captured by a camera on the handlebars, has gone viral.
The incident took place on Tuesday morning in the city of Wroclaw, with the victim of the theft a 17-year-old girl who was on her way to school.
The cyclist, posting the video to YouTube under the user name misiek97012387, said he decided to investigate what was happening after hearing shouts of “help me, help me!” as he rode through a tunnel under a building.
A witness told him that two women had beaten the victim while stealing her purse, so he set off after them, explaining in a comment to the video that he was aware he was “chasing criminals according to the Polish law.”
He went on: “After I knocked them down, they got up and tried to run away.” He described the women, who were aged 19 and 23, as “dirty” and “sloppy,” with “many scars” on their hands, and said “I could smell that they were drunk.”
He said they tried to get away several times before the arriveal of the police, and that “they were swearing and threatening ‘f*ck off, if you touch me I'll bite you’, ’leave me alone, f*ck, I'll punch you in the face'."
Police arrived within two or three minutes to arrest the women, whom they said were most likely addicts and have prior convictions. They could now face up to 12 years in jail.
The cyclist acknowledged that while he had broken traffic law by riding through a red light in pursuit of the women, “citizen's arrest is legal in Poland, especially when there's [a] high probability that [the] criminal will escape,” and it will therefore be unlikely they will be identified.
He added that some “helpful and brave women” who witnessed the incident had helped with stopping the “aggressive girls.”
Back in 2009, Mayor of London Boris Johnson was hailed a "knight on a shining bicycle" after he came to the help of a filmmaker who was being attacked by a gang of girls in Camden, with the politician chasing after them on his bike.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.