SALEM (CBS) – A woman did some detective work to track down a thief who stole her wallet and sunglasses at a Salem store on Saturday.

Kate Hugo had been shopping for a bicycle helmet at Salem Cycle on Washington Street when the robbery occurred. She told police she put her wallet and sunglasses down on top of a box while she tried a helmet on. In just a matter of minutes, her stuff was gone.

“My heart was racing,” says Hugo. “It was a huge adrenaline rush. It was hard to think clearly.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Instead of calling authorities right away, the woman then asked to view the store’s surveillance tape. At that point, she was able to get a good look at the suspect. She later said she recognized the suspect on the tape as a man she noticed before “acting suspiciously.”

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

“I was trying to put my self in somebody’s bad guy shoes and I was thinking if I was trying to get away where would I go?”

She then left the store to look for the suspect, and found 44-year-old Brian DeYoung at the nearby MBTA station. She flagged down a couple conductors, who called police to report the robbery.

The woman then demanded that DeYoung return her things.

“I said hey I saw you on video surveillance. It is clearly you. I just want my things back.”

Kate says the man said “yes I found a wallet around Salem cycle and he proceeded to take out my wallet and cell phone.  And I said my sun glasses too! And at that point he groaned and took them out of his pocket and handed all three to me.”

After police arrived, they traveled with the woman and DeYoung back to the store to review the surveillance tape. At that point, they arrested DeYoung and charged with larceny.

Despite the woman’s success, officers caution anyone looking to solve crimes on their own, and recommend you call police.

“I was glad they caught the guy,” says Dan Shuman, the owner of Salem Cycle. ” I though it was nuts that she ran after him and found him but I am glad no one got hurt.”

Kate agrees.  She really does not recommend doing what she did but says she just wanted stuff back.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve contributed to this report.

Comments (2)
  1. msw says:

    Kudos to this woman. If she waited for the cops (as they suggest in the article) NOTHING would have been recovered.

  2. Rick Evans says:

    “She really does not recommend doing what she did but says she just wanted stuff back.”

    When will people learn? Don’t leave your valuables on counters or your purse in a shopping cart. Then you won’t have to chase down portly thieves at train stations to get your ‘stuff back.’

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