Man wearing reindeer slippers tips woman out of wheelchair on train as he tries to steal it

Chiara Giordano
Still image from CCTV footage of man allegedly tipping woman out of wheelchair before trying to steal in on train in Phoenix, Arizona, 29 November 2019: Phoenix Police Department

A man has been arrested after a would-be thief tipped a woman out of her wheelchair on a train and attempted to steal it.

CCTV footage of the incident shows a man dressed in a red jacket and reindeer slippers, who lept out of his seat and grabbed the handles of the wheelchair as the train approached a station.

The woman sitting in the chair can be seen desperately grabbing onto the railings inside the carriage as the attacker attempts to steer her out of the open doors.

He eventually forces the woman to let go before throwing her onto the floor and running off with the wheelchair.

Police in Phoenix, Arizona said a number of passengers intervened and chased after the man during the attack at about 3.40pm on Friday 29 November. The assailant was tackled and eventually fled empty-handed.

The Phoenix Police Department said 26-year-old Austin Shurbutt had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Still image from CCTV footage of man allegedly tipping woman out of wheelchair before trying to steal in on train in Phoenix, Arizona, 29 November 2019. (Phoenix Police Department)

A police spokesperson said: “The 26 year old has two outstanding warrants and now faces five new charges including robbery, kidnapping and assault for dumping a woman out of her wheelchair on the light rail and taking the chair.

“He was still wearing the reindeer slippers when he was arrested.”