Video shows attempted thief dump disabled woman out of wheelchair

Posted at 11:18 AM, Dec 09, 2019

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Police say they have captured a man who attempted to steal a wheelchair from a woman while she was riding an Arizona light rail on Friday, November 30.

According to Phoenix police, Austin Shurbutt, 26, grabbed a woman's wheelchair and began to push her out of a light rail car near the 12th Street and Jefferson stop around 3:40 p.m.

The victim began to scream for help, but Shurbutt forcibly grabbed the wheelchair, causing the victim to fall from her chair during the struggle.

Police say Shurbutt then attempted to steal the wheelchair but was stopped by a group of bystanders who heard the victim screaming.

"When the community knows that somebody's in need, that something happened to someone, they're wonderful about coming forward giving us that information and that information could be just a little small piece of a very large puzzle but it's the piece that will help investigators crack the puzzle wide open," said Sgt. Jamie Rothschild.

"Everybody who saw this video pretty much had the same reaction which was I can't believe what I'm seeing and am I really seeing that."

Police say Shurbutt has two outstanding warrants.

He was also booked into jail and is facing several counts including robbery, attempt to kidnap, assault, and a vulnerable adult abuse charge.

This story was originally published by staff at KNXV.