PHOENIX - A man accused of dumping a woman out of her wheelchair in an attempt to steal it has been caught, Phoenix Police said.
Austin Shurbutt, 26, was booked into jail for robbery, attempt to kidnap, assault, and vulnerable adult abuse. The incident happened Friday, November 29.
According to police, Shurbutt is seen on security footage from a light railgrabbing the woman's wheelchair and pushing her out of it while she tried to resist.
Police say Shurbutt, wearing what police described as “reindeer slippers," is seen getting up from his seat and immediately started attacking the woman, trying to remove her from the wheelchair. The woman grabs at handrails to hold on, but he pulls one her hands off a handrail, throws her out of the chair, and pushes it off the tram.
At that moment, several passengers chase after the man, with one slamming him against a barrier on the light rail station platform. The man drops the wheelchair and flees on foot.
Police released the footage on December 7, branding the suspect a “holiday crook” and writing: “Despite his reindeer slippers, this criminal was NOT spreading holiday cheer. He tried to steal a wheelchair right out from under a woman, but hero passengers on the light rail came to her rescue.”