Mistake By Good Samaritans Lets Female Thief Escape
A woman hunt, as opposed to a manhunt, is underway in Central New Jersey, after some would-be good Samaritans got their man -- which was the problem.

It's part of the aftermath of a crime committed early Monday morning in Plainfield, a city of 50,000 which, even though its crime rate is declining, is still rated high in crime by City-Data.com. Yet even in a city whose police are busy, the crime that happened near the intersection of West Front Street and Plainfield Avenue around 12:30 A.M. has taken people by surprise.

A man was seen struggling with a woman during a theft. "They were yelling and everything," said a preteen eyewitness whose name is being withheld because of her age. "I saw them next to each other. I didn't know what was going on." She added, "I thought usually the man steals the woman's necklace."

The eyewitness made the same mistake that two good Samaritans, a man and a woman, made when they came upon the scene in the early morning hours. They stopped and seized the man who'd been tussling with the woman. Cops arrived minutes later, and it became quickly apparent to them that the man was the victim. The woman had ripped him off.

"I heard [him say] that she took his necklace and that it cost a lot of money, the eyewitness said. The female felony suspect also made off with $400 cash, while the good Samaritans held the man -- the victim -- and the female thief got away.

The location where she carried out her attack is adjacent to a gas station, which happens to have a state-of-the-art color surveillance camera system. It captured the image of the man and woman struggling, according to police, who will not release the video, which was turned over to them by the owner of the gas station.

Detectives said they are confident they'll find the female felony theft suspect, whom they describe as being a person well known to them. It is possible, according to people in the neighborhood where the crime took place, that the woman is a prostitute.

Those same neighbors had only good things to say about the well-meaning couple who thought they were helping a woman in distress, rather than helping that woman escape a crime scene.

"I'm thankful that somebody did see it and they did stop, regardless of whether it was a man involved or a woman," Henefia Cofield told PIX11 News. "A lot of times, people don't want to get involved and they just keep on going," she said.

The would-be good samaritans aren't charged with any crime. Police told PIX11, however, that it's best for people to not get involved physically if they witness what they think is a crime in progress. Instead, officers advise, a person should call 911 and stay as near to the crime scene as possible until police can arrive to take a statement.