Jefferson Heights neighbors foil purse theft, assault - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Jefferson Heights neighbors foil purse theft, assault

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The porches. The playground. The craftsmen two-stories.

They're but three of the reasons why Chattanooga's Jefferson Heights neighborhood invites Michigan transplants Adrian and Patricia Thomas to stroll through on an Indian Summer Monday.

"It's the real deal," Patricia Thomas says. "It's not just houses that look like a cool little neighborhood, it really is a neighborhood."

You'd expect to find the Neighborhood Watch signs that show up in a number of 'redeveloping' areas around the Scenic City.

Here it's not show nor lip service.

"It looks good, yes," Amy Andrews says of the purple 'shiner' fading right below her left eye.

She earned it this past Friday morning as the victim of a 'Bash & Grab' while trying to get in her car to head to work.

"I never saw him coming," she says. "He just hits me in the head with a rock!"

"I heard her screams," cross-street neighbor Dean Frost says. "I was looking for the commotion."

Andrews remembered her training from her self-defense class offered through her employer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

"Make noise," she says. "I fell down, threw my purse at him, and yelled at him with, 'just take it, take it!'"

"I was scared for her," Frost recalls.

The yelling was enough to prompt two neighbors to action.

"One saw him (the attacker) running away," Andrews says. "She called police at the time."

"One gentleman even chased the assailant," Frost says.

The suspect tripped, dropping Andrews' purse.

"Two eyewitnesses, plus me; even video from another neighbor's porch," Andrews says. "Working with the police, who were there so quickly, they were able to get a really good description."

Good enough to nab Alfonzo Rousnsaville, 54, reported to reside nearby.  

"He still had my cash," Andrews says. "My suspicion is he was after something else. I had started my car earlier and it was running. He never did ask for my purse."

Rousnsaville likely will have plenty of time to think about it. He's being held on $100,000 bond, so it's likely he'll spend his birthday (Christmas Eve), Christmas and New Year's Day in jail.

His next court date is January 15.

"The response from all of my neighbors has been overwhelming," Andrew says. "Seeing me probably was more traumatic fort them than for me, because of all the swelling at first."

Reaffirming why Frost moved here.

"There's a lot of pride here, and people want to protect what they have," he says. "The neighbors really try to pull together."

Lesson confirmed.

"I'm going to be more vigilant," Andrews says. "I still love my neighbors, and I feel safe."

"Because I know they have my back."

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