Larry Newman had just gotten out of his car Friday afternoon at Walmart in Bowling Green when he heard a woman scream.
Two parking spots down, he saw a woman struggling to retrieve her purse from a would-be thief.
"I left the car door open and ran over to get the guy," said Newman, 68, of Bowling Green.
About the same time, Cody Allen Swank, 19, of Grand Rapids, was walking out of Walmart when he heard a woman yelling for help.
"I just went after him. I just reacted," said Swank, who reportedly pushed the suspected thief, Jeffrey B. Campbell, 55, off his bike as he allegedly tried to ride off with the woman's purse.
"He just knocked him off his bike and the rest of us just jumped on him," Newman said of Swank's quick actions. "He's a dynamite kid."
Others joined in as well, including Cindy Bell, 51, North Baltimore, and Norman Tolles, 44, Weston.
"Everyone got on top of him and held him down," Swank said.
Newman called 911, and Swank returned the purse to its owner, Minda Parker, 58, Bowling Green.
"She seemed really glad to get her purse back," Swank said.
Parker told Bowling Green police that she had just unloaded her groceries, threw her purse on the passenger's seat and got into her car when a man rode up on a bicycle, reached across her and grabbed her purse. She screamed and tried to get her purse back. However, the thief, later identified by police as Campbell, of Bowling Green, reportedly pushed Parker down and took off on his bike.
Newman and Swank said their reactions were just automatic.
"It's what we should be doing," Swank said of the bystanders' efforts to help a fellow shopper.
It wasn't until afterwards that he thought of the other possible outcomes of getting involved. According to the police report, Campbell, who is 6-foot 3 inches and 245 pounds, had 75 pounds on Swank, who weighs 170.
Plus the police report stated that Tolles said as Campbell was being held down, he kept trying to get into a book bag that was around his own neck. That bag reportedly had several knives in it.
Two of the people helping were reportedly injured by Campbell, with Tolles being punched in the eye, and Bell being hit in the chin.
"I'm just so proud of the people of Bowling Green, they came to her rescue," Newman said. "I just did my part. I'm an old guy."
Though Parker went home with a bruise on her arm and scrapes on her knees, she left the Walmart parking lot with her purse - and renewed faith in strangers.
"I was pleasantly pleased with the response from the bystanders," she said."It's nice to know so many people came to help."
Parker said she wasn't frightened about the purse snatching at the time.
"Adrenaline kicked in," she said. "I wanted to get my purse back."
However, when she found out that Walmart had turned over videotapes of the incident in the parking lot, plus footage of Campbell reportedly following her before the theft, Parker realized how fortunate she had been.
Bowling Green Police Chief Brad Conner said he was proud of the reactions by the bystanders.
"You read so much about other communities where someone is in peril and people don't come to their aid," Conner said.
But that wasn't the case here.
"We're very fortunate we don't have a lot of incidents like this," he said. "I certainly plan on reaching out to those folks and thanking them."
Campbell reportedly told police that Parker left her purse in a shopping cart and he was trying to return it.
Campbell was taken to Wood County Hospital for injuries. He received three staples to his scalp, stitches to his left middle finger, and had a broken right clavicle.
He was charged with two counts of assault and one count of robbery, and taken to the Wood County Justice Center.