A woman trying to recover her phone stolen on the Atlanta Beltline’s southwest side led police to the arrest of a suspect.
Joyce Lewis said she was attacked after 10 p.m. Tuesday night as she walked home from buying groceries along the Beltline near Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard.
“He attacked me from behind,” Lewis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was on my phone and had groceries in both hands. I did not realize he was behind me at first.”
The thief punched her in the head several times and demanded her purse, police said.
She said she had dropped her phone when the man hit her. When the phone rang and the man bent down to grab it, Lewis said she ran.
The next day, Lewis called her phone and a man answered.
“He told me he bought the phone from someone for $20 and he said he wanted $20 for it,” she said.
Lewis arranged to meet the man with her phone in front of the Kroger shopping center on Cascade Road early Wednesday evening, and informed police of the meeting.
Lurking not far away, “There was the guy,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t believe it. From the night before, it was surreal.”
And it appeared he recognized her, she said: “He kept staring at me.”
A pair of Atlanta Police Beltline officers on bicycles arrived, according to police incident reports.
“He tried to bolt after seeing (the officers) but was quickly overtaken by the officer on his bicycle,” Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Greg Lyon said.
Phillip Bright, 50, was arrested and charged with robbery. Bright had been wanted by the Fulton County Sheriffs Office for violating his probation on a 2012 sexual battery charge.
Bright is being held at the Fulton County Jail.
Lewis acknowledged she was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was robbed.
“I understand I should not have been outside by myself on the phone,” she said. “I’m just grateful that I got away from him and he wasn’t able to do anything.”