Sunday afternoon while walking back to my apartment from a gas station less than 3 blocks away, my mom was mugged.
It was a nice sunny day and she'd walked up to the store to get some change to do laundry. As she was walking back, minding her own business, admiring the beautiful old houses that line my street, a van pulled up and let a kid out, then pulled off. The kid, a black teenage male, walked in front of my mom then up the steps to a house and started chatting with a lady and two small children sitting on the porch.
My mom, not thinking anything out of the ordinary kept walking. A moment later she felt a tug on her shoulder. As she tried to make a startled grab for her purse, that same kid she'd just seen sitting on the steps of the house she walked by ran past her with her purse in his hands.
She yelled at him to stop, and kept an eye on the direction he was running, with the thought of possibly following him, but when he ran between two houses then behind one she thought better and came the last block and a half to my apartment.
I was sitting on the couch looking out the window, watching for her to return. As I saw her walking the last few feet up the sidewalk another van pulled up beside her and stopped.
It turns out a church van, carrying a youth group had witnessed the purse snatching. The driver told my mom that they'd wanted to catch the kid but were unable to tell which way he'd gone.
My mom explained that she'd JUST moved here to Mobile the night before, and had just walked up to the store to get change to do her laundry. Every penny she had was in her purse, along with family pictures and her social security card.
The driver pulled out two crumpled dollar bills. He said he wasn't able to catch the kid for her, but at least he could make sure she was able to get her clothes washed. Then as she thanked them and was getting ready to come back in he stopped her again. A youth from the van had given him another dollar to give her.
When she came in and told me what had happened I was furious. I have ZERO tolerance for delinquent brats who think they can do what they please to whomever and suffer no repercussions.
I grabbed my phone and my keys and told my mom to come on. She showed me the house where the kid had been before he snatched her purse. I pulled up in the driveway and the young girl was still sitting there.
I asked her if she knew the kid who had mugged my mom. She said, "Yea, that's my cousin. We was talking and he goes "Watch this!" then ran down and took her purse".
I told her that she might want to help me find him or she'd be watching this when the police pulled up to her house. She just stared at me then walked down the stairs around to the opposite side of the house.
Taking down the address and her description I called the police. As I was giving them an account of what happened another guy came walking from around the side of the house.
I call myself having pretty decent instincts, and I'm usually fairly comfortable following my gut feeling. Seeing that this guy had his hand hidden under the front of his shirt near the waistband of his pants led me to feel that I should get the hell out of that driveway before he got any closer to my car.
We drove a few houses down and parked in another driveway and I finished my report to the police. The officer told me to stay where I was, a unit would be there in a few minutes. Just as I was hanging up my phone a lady came walking by and said "I'm not in this and I don't know nothing, but he just ran up in the back of that yellow house". She didn't stop or offer any further information but just kept on walking by. Where we were parked was between a white and yellow house. To be so close and know I couldn't really do anything was aggravating to say the least.
As we were sitting there another guy came walking from the same house. He had the same hand under the shirt stance that the previous guy did so I quickly decided it was time to find another place to wait for the police. As I was pulling out of that driveway a police car pulled up and motioned for me to follow him a few houses down to a church parking lot. While my mom was recounting what had happened to the officer, 3 more police cars pulled up.
To say we were surprised at the level of police interest and response over a purse snatching would be grossly underestimating our reaction. While we were talking to the first office two of the cars left and apparently went back to the house to search for the kid and question any witnesses.
They came back a few minutes later, said they were unable to find anything and that the girl they questioned, the one from the porch, had apparently developed a massive case of amnesia and didn't have any idea who or what we were talking about.
After explaining that they would write up the report, pass on the information to a detective who would go back and re-question anyone available, the officer gave us a card with a case number on it and pulled off.
In spite of all that had just happened, my mom realized she would still need change to finish her laundry so I took her to another store to get change from the $3 the youth group in the van had given her.
We'd just gotten back to the apartment and were mulling over what had happened when someone knocked on my apartment door.
The area I live in is not a bad area. I'm surrounded by beautiful historic mansions on the corner of two very busy streets on the edge of downtown Mobile. It was just bad luck and timing that my mom happened to be walking past the house where a rotten good for nothing brat happened to be visiting his cousin and decided she'd make an easy prey.
However, the niceness of my neighborhood didn't stop either of us from jumping when we heard the knock on the door. My apartment building is only two blocks from where that kid was visiting. Only two blocks from where not one, but two less than friendly looking black males came from around the back of that same house holding their hands under the front of their shirts.
I tiptoed up to the door and looked out of the peep hole. It was no small sigh of relief I breathed when I saw that it was 2 of the officers we'd spoken to less than half an hour before.
They'd gone back to the house where my mom and the witness said the kid had ran to and they'd found my mom's purse and wallet strewn among some bushes at the back of the house.
While we were extremely grateful they'd gone back and searched for the kid, and were happy that my mom's purse had been recovered, we couldn't help but feel some defeat that it was returned completely empty.
Her social security card, family pictures and every single penny she had were in that purse and now all of it was gone.
So now my mom is completely without any funds and can't even look for a job until she is able to replace her social security card. You have to have a certified copy of your birth certificate to apply for a ss card, and she didn't have one, so I've had to order one for her online and she should have it by the end of the week.
But she came over here without a car, planning to use the public transit system to find a new job and get around town, so now even once she gets her birth cert, and assuming my boss lets me off work to take her to apply for a replacement ss card, she has no money for the bus.
My mom had been living with my sister in Mississippi, but thanks to a freak bedbug invasion (thought to have been brought over from one of the children my sister watches) they've been run out of their house. My sister and her family have been staying at our dad's, and my mom has been couch surfing with various family members here and there for weeks.
The situation had begun wearing on her and there was no better solution in immediate sight, so I asked her to come live with me, hoping she could get a new start. A new beginning in a new place, with a new job, and new friends. And the first freaking day she's here she gets mugged.
I've walked those same two and a half blocks to that same store dozens of times and have never even seen anyone who gave me cause to fear for my safety, yet the very first time my mom walks that path she gets mugged.
I've never asked my readers for help before and if it were me that was in this situation I wouldn't be asking now, but my mom has nothing. And thanks to two crappy roommates in a row who've moved out with no notice right before rent was due, I'm in no position to offer her much more than a place to stay.
So if you could, if you would, please click on the picture of my kitty at the top left of my blog. It will take you to a paypal account where you can donate as little or as much as you choose.
She's a really good woman, who's been through a lot and deserves more from life than what she's been dealt the past several years. And she definitely deserves to be able to make a new start on life. Unfortunately some piece of crap punk kid has just made that very very difficult for her, so any help anyone can offer would be so greatly appreciated.
Thank you all, and I doubt they'll ever read it, but thank you again to the youth group who stopped and gave her the few dollars they had at the time.