Attempted purse-snatching victim describes her struggle

Revelstoke resident Helen Shuttleworth is in her 70s, but she's certainly not elderly

Revelstoke resident Helen Shuttleworth is in her 70s, but she’s certainly not elderly.

When she read the story about her attempted mugging on Mackenzie Avenue, seeing the word “elderly” describing her made her “blood boil.”

“Calling me an elder! Nobody in their 70s thinks they’re an elderly person,” Shuttleworth said. “When they’re in their 80s, maybe, but not when they’re in their 70s. And anyways, I’m in my early 70s.”

The Feb. 8, 7:20 p.m. attempted purse-snatching was the first crime of its kind in Revelstoke in recent memory, the RCMP say. Although Revelstoke now has the blemish of an attempted purse snatching on its record, thanks to a stiff resistance from Shuttleworth, there still haven’t been any actual purse snatchings.

Shuttleworth tells it like this: She was getting out of her car in front of Conversations Coffee House. It was dark and icy and she was holding her backpack-style purse by the loop in one hand. She was holding onto the open door of her car with the other.

Suddenly, she felt a yank and the struggle was on.

She says her attacker was determined, pulling at the bag for quite some time.

The man was slight – 110 pounds, she guesses – maybe a youth, or possibly a female. He was wearing a black and gray hoodie with a modern, distinct zig-zag-like pattern. The drawstring was cinched shut, so she couldn’t get a look at her attacker’s face at all.

Through the incident, the failed purse snatcher didn’t say anything. “But I was yelling at him,” Shuttleworth said. “‘You’re not having this. Give it back!'” she yelled.

The attacker struggled to get a grip on the icy road, while Shuttleworth maintained the upper hand by holding onto her car door. “He went down a couple of times when I jerked,” she says.

In fact, she says the mugger was lucky she was wedged behind the door when he fell down. “I would have stomped on him,” she tells me.

Eventually the mugger gave up and ran down Mackenzie Avenue towards Second Street before disappearing. A man did respond to her screams, but by then the attacker was gone.

Shuttleworth says she wasn’t injured in the attack. She wasn’t even sore the next day and had a few laughs while talking about the incident.

She came away from the experience with a good story to tell her friends. “Everybody thought I was just wonderful,” she says of the reactions she’s got so far. “They were all very impressed.”