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Police: Good Samaritans jump in as man attempted snatching backpack from elderly woman in Miami Beach

Mugshot for 46-year-old Eric Gospodarek.
Mugshot for 46-year-old Eric Gospodarek. (Miami-Dade County Corrections)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A man was arrested Sunday after allegedly trying to snatch an elderly woman’s bag while she sat on a Miami Beach bench.

Police said the 74-year-old victim was sitting on a concrete partition bench along Lincoln Road when she was approached by the suspect, 46-year-old Eric Gospodarek.

The victim told police Gospodarek claimed, “That’s my bag,” before forcibly pulling the victim’s backpack away from her, according to an arrest report.

Per the report, Gospodarek pushed the victim backwards, into bushes, and began punching her in the shoulder with a closed fist as she continued holding on to her property.

At this point several witnesses and passersby intervened, helping the victim and calling the police.

Police said the victim did not have any visible injuries, only complaining of shoulder pain, and she refused medical attention.

Multiple witnesses corroborated the victim’s story and Gospodarek was taken into custody.

At first, police said Gospodarek gave them a different name and Social Security number, but they eventually figured out his true identity.

He faces charges of attempted strongarm robbery, battery on a person 65 or older and providing police with a false name after an arrest.

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.