"My mistake was that I gave two young black men the benefit of the doubt," explains Judy Johnson, long time Soulard resident, who was mugged early Saturday evening.
Judy relates that she was returning home from work. The time was approximately 7:10 p.m. She parked two doors up the street from her home in the 2300 block of S. 12th Street - between Shenandoah and Lami, the cross streets. After exiting her van and locking it, she was accosted by two young black men - "they seemed to be about 18 years old" - who asked for directions to a restaurant on "Tucker."
"They were very polite, calling me ma’am. They stayed six feet away from me, and I did not feel threatened at all," Judy relates. "I told them that this was not Tucker, but S. 12th Street. The one who did the talking said he was from Mississippi and that was why he didn’t know that Tucker had a name change when it branched at Gravois. He spoke softly and with a Southern accent. Both were clean cut and casually dressed," Judy notes.
"I was weary from the outset, but they apologized for taking up my time. Then they turned and headed south. I turned north to approach my house, and I heard the talker say: ‘I’m joking, bitch,’ and I was immediately hit between my shoulder blades by a fist or an open hand," Judy says.
"He really hit me hard, and I was pushed several feet, but I did not loose my footing, fortunately," she continues. "He grabbed my purse and yanked, but he did not get it. The second time he did. Then they ran south and turned right on Lami," Judy says.
Judy immediately got in her van and drove to the police substation on S. 11th and Barton, hoping to find a police presence. Unfortunately, there were no police cars there. She drove back home and parked in the same place. When she got out of her van, she saw that a neighbor, Bob Williams, was in front of his apartment. She told him she had just been mugged, and he said that there was a woman’s purse in the alleyway between his building and the next one. Judy said that it was probably hers, and it was.
She inventoried the contents and found that the only thing missing was her cash, which amounted to $4 or $5. She went inside her house and called police, who arrived quickly. She surmises that the muggers turned right on Lami, turned right into the alley and circled into the dogtrot at Bob’s house, went through the purse, dropped it and possibly went north on S. 12th, passing the scene of the event, and cleared out. The policeman - Ofc. Williams - hypothesized that they had an auto nearby and used that to exit the neighborhood. "The officer was very professional, very kind," Judy notes.
Oddly, Judy thinks that the perp hit her so hard that he dropped his cell phone. "It broke, and Bob picked up the pieces that were left and gave them to the policeman," she adds.
The person who did the talking and who attacked her was approximately 5' 10" to 6' tall, very solidly built and his skin tone was "extremely black," she comments. "Also, his teeth were very crooked, and one front tooth was growing over another one at an angle. It was almost as though he was wearing Halloween teeth," Judy says. "The other man was shorter and lighter," she observes.
"These guys gave me no hint that I was going to be nailed. They used the element of surprise. I should have stayed in my van when I saw them. Instead, I gave two young black men the benefit of the doubt, and that was my mistake," Judy concludes.