ELYRIA — An 18-year-old woman who tried to stop a suspected thief Monday morning was assaulted by the man with his prosthetic leg.
Gina McKee of Elyria said her left hand was cut when Lemuel Voorhies threw his bicycle at her, but she was able to fend off the prosthetic leg attack. Police arrived as the two were tussling and arrested Voorhies, charging him with assault.
McKee said she did not start her day with the intentions of being a crime fighter.She stopped at the Dairy Mart on Lake Avenue about 6:30 a.m. Monday to buy a newspaper when she spotted a man having difficulty making a phone call. The man, who placed his wallet on the corner of the store counter, was trying to decipher the small print on a business card, when McKee said she offered to help.
But what she didn’t know was that someon else also was watching him. That man started walking off with the 58-year-old man’s wallet, she told police. McKee said she didn’t see Voorhies, 45, actually take the wallet, but he acted suspiciously because he quickly walked out of the store and came back in, proclaiming without provocation that he didn’t take anyone’s wallet.
McKee said the store owner decided to review the store’s surveillance video, but the grainy image couldn’t provide the truth. That’s when the police were called, and McKee said she decided to track down Voorhies herself.
“I knew he couldn’t go that fast because he doesn’t pedal that fast,” she said.
She jumped in her car and spotted him in front of Minute Man staffing services on Middle Avenue. McKee said she jumped out of her car and confronted Voorhies. But he would not go down without a fight. He took off his prosthetic leg, swinging it toward McKee’s face and he then hobbled back to his bike, thinking he scared her off, she said. But McKee said she doesn’t scare easily, so she grabbed the back tire of the bike.
“He wasn’t going anywhere. It was like holding a mouse by its tail,” she said. Voorhies then picked up the bike and threw it toward McKee’s face. She blocked the blow with her hand, she said.
“Right then, I lost it. I just started beating the crap out of him. It took four men to get me off him,” she said.
Although her actions go against what law enforcement usually advises — it generally suggests letting police do the work — McKee didn’t hesitate when asked if she’d do it again. “Yes, without a doubt,” she said.
The victim never did get back his wallet, as Voorhies wasn’t found with it and the surveillance video was too unclear to say if he’d actually taken it, police said.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening. But I knew that what that dude did wasn’t right. I’ve been through a lot and I ain’t going to let anything happen to someone who ain’t doing anything,” she said.
Voorhies will appear in Elyria Municipal Court later this week. Court records show he has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1993.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.