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Elderly Plantation Woman Uses Walker To Fight Off Alleged Jewelry Thief

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Zita Staples, 83, fought off her attacker with her walker. (CBS4)

Zita Staples, 83, fought off her attacker with her walker. (CBS4)

South Florida Crime

PLANTATION (CBS4)  – An elderly woman proves she’s still got plenty of fight left in her after being attacked while walking a dog.

Zita Staples, 83, was robbed in a Plantation neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, but did her best to keep her attacker from getting away, even using a walker as a weapon.

Staples is from New Hampshire, but she’s staying at her daughter’s house at the Harbor Town apartment complex off University Drive in Plantation ahead of a cruise vacation next week.

At around 1:30pm on April 24, Staples took her daughter’s dog Sasha out for a stroll. Moving slowly with a walker following a recent back surgery, she was stopped a few buildings away.

“[The suspect] approached her and he ripped her chain from her neck,” said Plantation Police Detective Philip Toman. “She followed him.”

Staples says her attacker turned in to a short, dead-end corridor. Knowing he was cornered, she went after him.

“I was going to get him,” Staples explained. “I got him, but I didn’t get my jewelry back.”

She hoped to retrieve her late husband’s necklace. Instead, Staples was attacked a second time after ramming in to the suspect with her walker.

“I landed on my back. (He) twisted my hand and took my diamond ring,” Staples said.

Neighbor Ali Kessler was walking her dog nearby. She heard Staples scream and immediately turned around.

“She was bleeding, her dog was running free,” Kessler said.

Staples suffered cuts and bruises to her finger and neck.

One witness even jotted down the suspect’s license plate number. Before long, police arrested 22-year-old Steven Wendal after a short pursuit. He’s charged with robbery and assault. A police report read in court Wednesday reveals Wendal had been released from jail following a different robbery case and allegedly cut off his ankle monitor earlier this month.

Neighbors are glad he’s behind bars. They call Staples brave. She says she’s just stubborn.

“I just wanted to get my jewelry back. That’s all,” Staples said. “I don’t like to be taken advantage of.”

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