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Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Bystander says he acted on instinct by tackling suspected purse snatcher

By Kyle Feldscher

Brad McNett wanted to visit Ann Arbor comic book shop Vault of Midnight Saturday morning, but before he could get there he ended up doing his own super hero impression.


Brad McNett

Courtesy of Brad McNett

McNett, 23, of Ann Arbor, said he saw a man struggling with a woman near an ATM in the 100 block of South Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Soon, the man was sprinting toward him with the woman’s purse in hand.

Without thinking, McNett grabbed the man and threw him against a building, attempting to hold him until police could arrive.

“I was kind of hoping he would stop,” McNett said, laughing.

“He was just trying to escape, never threw punches but there was a lot of grabbing. I was holding him around the neck and trying to keep him there.”

The 27-year-old Ypsilanti man McNett stopped on Main Street was Christopher Courdway, who was charged with one count of unarmed robbery Sunday. He’s being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

McNett and another man, who remains unidentified, stopped Courdway for a period of time, but he eventually escaped their grasp. McNett said Courdway’s jacket slipped off and he dropped his backpack and the woman’s purse before he escaped.

“He managed to break free and shot off across Main Street to the other side,” McNett said. “I didn’t chase after him because her purse was there and we had his stuff.”

Ann Arbor police officers responded to the area and McNett hopped into a squad car with an officer to search for Courdway. His identification was left in his jacket and McNett said police were familiar with him. The officer driving McNett said she previously arrested Courdway twice.

Courdway eventually was caught about five blocks away after running south on Main Street. McNett wasn’t in the car with the officers when Courdway was arrested, but he was happy to hear he’d been apprehended.

"I was glad they caught him and were able to get him off the street,” McNett said.

When asked if he thought twice about grabbing Courdway as he ran on Main Street, McNett said he was acting on instinct. The thought that Courdway could’ve been armed never even crossed his mind.

McNett only spoke with the 41-year-old woman whose purse was grabbed briefly before he hopped in the squad car. He said he doesn’t think he did anything impressive.

“I just did what I hope anyone would do,” he said, adding, “just trying to help someone who can’t help themselves.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Start going after the heroin pushers who cause this kind criminal activity.

John Counts

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

I hope Mr. McNett finally got his comics. He deserves them. Good job, sir.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

If more Americans that are capable would act like this when needed, I have no doubt that crime would decrease. The police are great after the act, only brave citizens can stop things in the act. Nice job, Mr. McNett.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

I think there needs to be more emphasis on the fact that an assault at an ATM occurred in downtown AA in broad daylight, on a Saturday morning, on Main Street. This is the problem. Brad was a hero, but crime is now happening in AA any place and at any time. Need more police on patrols around the city. Oh that's right, they've been laid off, but we have public art to the tune of a $750,000 sculpture!!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

"His identification was left in his jacket and McNett said police were familiar with him. The officer driving McNett said she previously arrested Courdway twice." And yet, this thug is still on the street assaulting and robbing people! What is going on?

Jenn McKee

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

Encouraging to read about someone stepping in to help a victim of a crime. Kudos, and thank you, Mr. McNett.

Local Yocal

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Well done Brad. If you happen to see him out and about, buy him a coffee or a brew.

George K

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

I think Brad got lucky. It ended alright this time, but this could have ended much much worse. Unless Brad is a trained fighter this is an incredibly bad decision, especially on instinct. If your instinct is to grab the bad guy when he gets close without any kind of plan, that is going to end badly more often than it ends well. He was lucky the guy wasn't armed, lucky that another bystander didn't think Brad was the assaulter, and lucky that the guy was finally caught. Now he has to get lucky again and hope this guy's friends (if he has any) don't read and see his name and photo... Better to let him go and be a good witness. Grats that it ended well, but this type of "instinct" worries me (unless of course Brad is a Karate blackbelt, or can otherwise hold his own in a fight).

free form

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

George K, you clearly don't get it. YOUR type of instinct worries me. People who wring their hands instead of instinctively stepping up to do the right thing are pretty worthless.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

I agree that posting Brad's photo is a bit dicey with potentially vindictive friends of the thug who was arrested. Unfortunately, this punk has been arrested a couple times before, and will likely get out again. Great justice system here in A2. I applaud Brad's courage, but fear for him once this thug is back on the street again, and in the meantime, Courdway's friends are potentially going to come after Brad.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

...and now the world knows the true ID of The Green Lantern! Way to go, dude!

James F.

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Makes me proud to wear a bow tie!! Way to go Brad!

Andy T

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

I like Brad's 'mild mannered singer' disguise... it throws crooks off his trail as 'Brad of Justice'.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Next time a civic group (Homeless Support or Washtenaw 100) plans a fund raising event, I hope they will invite Brad McNett. I would like to hear him sing Sinatra.

Jessica Webster

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

You should come hear him sing on Friday, March 1 at 5 pm at Rush Street in Ann Arbor. WEMU's monthly free 5:01 concert will feature Brad fronting the Rampage Swing band.

Clay Moore

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Nice to know that there are still individuals who instinctively do the right thing.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

I love the fact that he did this without unnecessary violence. Because in some parts of the country, Brad would simply have shot the purse snatcher - a crime for which the purse-snatcher should be punished, but not with the Vigilante Penalty. Thank God for cooler heads.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

Yep, because according to you anybody with some sort of firearm carry permit is just itching to blow a hole in somebody.

Dan Darbor

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Nice work McNett!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

He is a GOOD-GUY --- glad to have him on 'our' side! Thank You Brad!!!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Just like a lot of heroes Brad says he didn't do anything impressive. He and the other gentleman were impressive, they helped in the apprehension of a crook and got him off the streets at least for a little while. I say great job Brad, to you and the other anonymous hero.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Brad, you have a good and strong heart. Let's hope that they lock up this guy for a long time before he seriously hurts someone


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Nice job, Mr. McNett. Good thinking, too. Though I think Michigan's Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison might have some helpful advice about stopping the run. ;-) RE:"The thought that Courdway could've been armed never even crossed his mind." – Haven't seen any studies done of such actions but in this case a well known practical bit of knowledge tells us that, if the perp is attempting to flee; he isn't armed. Purse snatchers, generally, are not armed. - If they were, they'd use whatever weapon they had to first display superior force to rob the victim and then to assist them in fleeing and, if that didn't deter pursuit / detainment, they'd try to use that weapon. It's called the Intimidation Strategy. This does nothing to diminish Mr. McNett's initiative and quick response. But to suggest that his action never involved some thought (even on the level of instinct) is actually insulting to him and any person with the ability and simple knowledge required. To suggest "it never crossed his mind" is actually saying his action was mindless and heedless. That's not the kind of "admiration" we need in our species.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76. I totally agree with your analysis concerning alpha people.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

Thank you, Joe. I think I do understand the motive behind negative votes directed at any suggestion that people actually have the ability to think and judge when action is possible and/or called for. From my own experience and study: I've concluded it's anthropological in nature. That's opposed to being political, as some people seem to believe. Alpha males and females are the ones who are more likely to take the initiative and take on associated risks compared to the non-alpha types. The non-alpha types naturally don't want to appear weak or cowardly, so they invent political "principles" to support & explain their apparent weakness and non-involvement in critical situations. It's even evolved to a point where savvy politicians know they can get votes by instituting laws which block those who believe in the human right to self defense. In that way, the politicization of human nature becomes toxic to human rights and human survival.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Can't understand why someone would vote down your comment Tru2Blu76. Don't worry though I negated it with my up vote. I thought your insight hit the nail on the head.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Who's the sourpuss who keeps voting thumbs down on this happy story? Christopher Courdway?

Jessica Webster

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Brad has an amazing voice - make sure to look for him when he sings around town. He's also a WEMU host. You can listen to him Saturdays from 5 to 8 am on 89.1. I've always known Brad was an impressive person, but I guess it turns out he's also a super hero.

Bob Needham

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Batman in a bow tie


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Never underestimate a man in a bow tie.

Monica Milla

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

Bow ties are cool!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Way to go! Thank you, Brad. I believe your actions were impressive AND heroic. More often than not you find that bystanders are hesitant to stick around as a witness for the police and sometimes they shy away from even placing a 911 call. You certainly went above and beyond today's normal expectations. I am glad they published this article so that you can receive proper recognition for your courageous actions. Also, a big thank you to the Ann Arbor Police Department for the work they do on a daily basis. I'm glad this loser criminal is in the slammer.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

God Bless this young man for assisting with the apprehension of the purse snatcher. All of us, when able, need to help one another. I'm so glad he and the others were not hurt. Take care.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

If I'm in trouble, I want someone like this nearby. There are heroes where you least expect them.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

For future knowledge....YOU MAY USE FORCE TO DETAIN A SUSPECT IN A FELONY CITIZENS ARREST. If you are detaining someone for a FELONY....YOU MAY USE FORCE!! If it not to get involved because using force to hold someone for a misdemeanor IS A CRIME ITSELF. So had you WANTED to use 'compliance blows' after tackling the suspect in this case you are free too...since purse snatching is 'robbery' and ALL types of robberies are felonies (regardless of value).

Rick Stevens

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

Please stop shouting - you scare people.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Yeah, he really would'be been in trouble if it were Billy and not Brad.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

There you go, spouting facts and practical knowledge which "might" embarrass some of the anti-initiative cowards in town. You're doomed to "thumbs-down" oblivion. Aren't you discouraged and dismayed? (Thought not, you seem too sensible for that).

Rugeirn Drienborough

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

He didn't do what anyone would do. He did what very few people would do. He took direct action to stop a blatant crime happening right in front of him. In that situation, most people look the other way.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. Mr. McNett seems quite humble about the entire situation, and I think that makes his actions even more heroic.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Thank goodness someone stepped up! We need more of you.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Nice job Brad!

Joel A. Levitt

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

Well done Brad.

Chip Reed

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Brad is not only a citizen-hero, he is also a very entertaining and talented singer in in the style of Frank Sinatra, etc.