PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 65-year-old woman found a thief inside her Portland home and fought back, literally riding on the suspect’s back as he ran down the sidewalk.
The woman — who KOIN 6 News is not identifying — said she came home to her house in the Irvington neighborhood on NE Klickitat Street Monday night. As she unlocked the front door she was shocked to find a man crouching behind the door.
“I open the door and I see a person to my left, his face is about the same level as mine and I realize the person is crouching and obviously it really startled me,” she told KOIN 6 News.
The thief was wearing a backpack and carrying a suitcase that belonged to the woman’s roommate.
She told KOIN 6 News he tried to push past her to get away — and that’s when she made the split-second decision to jump on his back on top of the backpack.
“Somehow, I don’t know how, somehow I swiveled and jumped onto his back because I wasn’t like this (in a certain position) I was, I jumped.”
She wasn’t going to let him get away with heirlooms from her late mother — “I was not going to let him take that because that’s the only thing I have left of my mom” — so she held on tight as he raced down the steps.
“When he gets around the corner and he’s trying to dislodge me to get off, but I am not moving,” she said. “I’m not getting off. I am not letting him get away. I am not going to let him get away.”
She held onto his shoulders and the backpack, she said. “I was clenched there like with a death grip as he’s going out the door and coming down all the steps.”
Eventually he managed to get his backpack off and pushed the woman to the ground. That’s when neighbors rushed in to help and call 911.
The victim said a bicyclist then followed the suspect and helped point police to the yard where he was hiding. That’s where officers arrested Joshua Purdue.
Purdue, 34, was in a Multnomah County courtroom to face multiple charges of burglary and robbery. He pleaded not guilty.
The woman believes Purdue got into her house by cutting through a screen door on the porch. And just as she tried to keep him from getting away from her house, she told KOIN 6 News she will do whatever it takes to keep him behind bars so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“Maybe this can be the start of being able to put people away that do incredible damage to people and their lives and their homes and not be able to just go back and do it again a few months later.”