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Exclusive interview: Student who Tackled Robber

December 12, 2011

by Kayla Matteo

The 22-year-old robbery victim who chased down and tackled a man who stole her wallet described the  dramatic events that unfolded a week ago in an interview with The Pine Hills blog. Charged in the Dec. 5 incident was 48-year-old man Antonio Lucas. He was sent to Albany County Jail pending court action.

Michelle Williamson, a student at the state University at Albany, was eating dinner around 6:40 p.m. last Monday at Chang’s Garden restaurant on the corner of Quail Street and Western Avenue. Lucas walked inside and after pretending to order food, turned to the table where she and a friend were sitting. Williamson said Lucas grabbed her wallet, and nonchalantly placed it into his pants pocket.

“He just came up and said, ‘I’m gonna take this’,” said Williamson. “I didn’t even notice him at first, we were completely inconversation. I had a mouthful of food.”

Antonio Lucas/Albany Police Department

Lucas turned and walked out of the restaurant, according to Williamson’s account. In her wallet, she said she had $60 in cash, a credit card, a debit card, and her ID. She wasn’t about to just let it slip away so she ran out of the restaurant after him yelling that he stole her wallet.

“There were a lot of people around but nobody did anything,” she said, “I don’t think they knew what to do. He looked really big.”

Infuriated that he was about to get away with it, she started an altercation. One push by Williamson turned into an all out wrestling match on the street, where she ripped his leather jacket off of him, partially shredding the  jacket and the shirt he was wearing.

“The cops showed me the jacket afterwards and were like, ‘Look what you did to this jacket’,” she said, laughing.

During the fight, Lucas threw Williamson to the ground, and she hit her head. He then ran east on Western Avenue, and Williamson, who frequently runs as a hobby, got up and missing one shoe, and chased Lucas. She caught up to him by the First Lutheran Church less than a block away.

A group of male students were eating pizza close by and ran out to help her, but by the time they got to her, Williamson already had Lucas pinned to the ground.

Williamson, a UAlbany rugby player for four years, had tackled Lucas.

“At one point he was on top of me. He put his arm near my throat and I’m really claustrophobic,” she said. That gave her the extra push she needed to flip the 215 pound man over and pin him to the ground under her.

“I had such an adrenaline rush. Afterwards the cops were trying to make me go get looked at but I really didn’t think I got hurt at all,” said Williamson, who suffered only small cuts and scrapes to her arm and hands.

Lucas, who was on parole, begged Williamson to “just let him go,” but she stayed put, telling him to be quiet and not move until the police arrived. State Department of Corrections records show Lucas has been in and out of state prison for robbery, burglary and other charges over the last few decades.

“I felt safe, there were a lot of people around at that point,” she said.

Williamson attributes the attempted robbery to a few weird coincidences that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I wasn’t trying to be impressive,” said Williamson, who never considered that Lucas might have a weapon on him. “I just wanted my wallet.”

Lucas was charged with robbery and unlawful possession of marijuana and is  being held in Albany County Jail for robbery and unlawful possession of marijuana. -30-


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