Mugger returns cellphone to victim

Nov 2 2011 - 2:46pm

CHICAGO -- Sidney Tyson feared for his life when one of the young muggers who beat and robbed him at a South Shore bus stop came back minutes later.

But instead of another beating -- or worse -- the 63-year-old Tyson was inexplicably handed back his smart phone and $5 bus pass.

"I thought they were coming back to jump on me again," Tyson said Wednesday morning, hours after the attack that happened at 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.

"I thought maybe they came back with some weapons and they were going to shoot me this time," said Tyson, who used his cane to fend off the robbers.

Police arrested three suspects a short time later after the same group apparently robbed a 45-year-old man of his wallet about a block away.

Tyson said he was attacked from behind by five or six young men who punched him and knocked him to the ground as they grabbed his phone. The robbers never went for Tyson's cash, he said.

Tyson, a former investigator for the state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, was able to land one good hit on his attackers with a cane he has used since suffering a series of strokes.

But the blow came with a price: The mugger sprang up and kicked him in the face.

The group then ran off with Tyson following behind until one of the robbers yelled they "had something" for him -- which stopped Tyson in his tracks, fearing they meant to come back and hit or shoot him.

But minutes later, one of the robbers returned with his phone and pass, giving him a "wild story" that he couldn't understand.

Tyson said he has no second thoughts about fighting back. "It was self-defense. I thought they were trying to kill me, so I had no other recourse."

"When people come up behind you when you're disabled and you're weak, you're already tired and you don't want to be out in the street in the first place, (an attack) is really a shock to your system," he said. "The will to survive really helps in this situation."

Tyson was equally thankful for the quick response by police who later made the arrests, and by a Fire Department ambulance that took him to South Shore Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Tyson said he's on the mend. "I just got a good, old-fashioned butt whuppin'," he said.

(c)2011 the Chicago Tribune

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