08:05AM, Thursday 14 November 2013
An electrical engineer has earned the nickname Captain Marvel after tackling a thief who targeted an elderly woman in the car park of Waitrose.
Simon Combe jumped into action after pulling into the car park of the supermarket in Moorbridge Road on Thursday, October 24.
The 44-year-old, from Walker Road, was on his way to buy some food after dropping his wife off at the Magnet Leisure Centre.
He spotted two men trying to start a conversation with a woman sat in the driver's seat of a car parked in a disabled bay.
Simon then saw a third man crouched on all fours who eased open the car door as his accomplices continued to distract their victim.
The thief reached in and grabbed the woman's purse before trying to sneak away, which is when Simon sprang into action.
He said: "I shouted 'he's nicked your purse!'.
"He threw it back in the car. I jumped on him and held him until the police came."
The have-a-go-hero described himself as a 'big lad' and said the criminal was 'going nowhere'.
He was also angry the gang were deliberately targeting a vulnerable victim.
"They did not pick on a young man. They picked on an elderly lady in the disabled bay."
The two men who distracted the woman escaped but thanks to Simon's quick-thinking, the third gang member was hauled before the courts.
Romanian national Vasile Popa, 38, of no fixed address, admitted one count of attempted theft when he appeared at Slough Magistrates' Court the next day.
He was given a one-year conditional discharge.
Simon's aunt, Sandy Slattery, rang the Advertiser and praised her nephew.
She said family members had christened him 'Captain Marvel' thanks to his exploits.
Waitrose rewarded him with two free crates of beer and paid for his shopping.
Supermarket manager John Cooper said: "We're very grateful to the customer for their vigilance and display of public spirit which helped prevent a crime."
Thames Valley police praised Simon but warned people to be cautious.
A spokesman said: "Whilst we commend Mr Combe for his courageous actions, in situations like these we recommend people phone 999."
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