5 friends serve up some justice
SHAMOKIN - Five friends riding together in a Jeep early Sunday reacted without a second thought to help a woman who was being robbed of her purse along Lincoln Street.
They checked on the victim before three gave chase on foot, catching the suspect and keeping her on scene until police officers arrived.
Right place, right time.
"Who knows what would have happened if we hadn't been there? (The victim) was saying we were like her guardian angels," said Brennan Bruce, 18, of Shamokin.
It was about 1:20 a.m. Sunday when the five were headed west on Lincoln Street in Bruce's father's vehicle. Outside, accused purse-snatcher Tanya Marie Williams had already begun to struggle with the victim in vain, according to police.
The witnesses first thought it was two kids horsing around next to the Shamokin Area Elementary Annex. As they approached they realized it wasn't kids and it wasn't a joke.
"The window was cracked in the back," said Michael Lorenz-Koons, 19, of Shamokin, who was driving. "I pulled in next to the Annex and the (victim) was screaming, 'help me, 'help me.'"
All five jumped out of the vehicle.
Chelsie Cossari, 20, of Shamokin, chased behind Williams as did Alex Witcoskie, 19, of Marion Heights, and Mason Dumond, 15, of Shamokin. Bruce and Lorenz-Koons stayed with the victim, who Bruce said was "screaming bloody murder" during the botched robbery and was crying afterward.
Cossari had quickly lost one moccasin in pursuit and kicked the other off. She caught up to Williams at the bridge at Eighth and Lincoln streets and grabbed her arm.
"I wasn't going to let her go," Cossari said. "I don't care if she went a mile I would have tried catching her."
Williams was pleading for leniency. She wanted to be let go, for her to be able to go home, forget it all happened, Cossari said.
Witcoskie had some harsh words in response. Though calm in delivery, he said he wanted to make her feel guilty for what had happened one-half block away.
Lorenz-Koons had called police and officers arrived shortly thereafter. Williams was taken into custody. She said "the girls," someone at her home, had put her up to it. That she was being held for ransom, the witnesses said. That she wanted money to buy more crack cocaine and that snatching a purse was easier that attempting to sell fake dope, according to police.
The victim and witnesses all went to the police department to provide statements of their own.
"Our adrenaline was so high, we were like I cannot believe that happened," Bruce said.
They are proud of their actions. Their family and friends are, too, they said.
"Some of my friends didn't really believe me until they saw it in the paper," Dumond said.
And they'd all do it over again.
"It kind of gives you pride knowing that it could have gone worse," Witcoskie said. "If it wasn't for the five of us it could have been a person's life."
Williams, of 19 E. Independence St., Apt. 2, Shamokin, is charged by Cpl. Bryan Primerano with two felony counts of robbery. She is being held in Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury, in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.