California sandwich shop employee chases down suspected stealing from mom’s wallet out of company

Julian Surall was hailed a hero for stopping a suspected robber outside the sandwich shop where he worked in Modesto, California.
(Modesto Police Department)

Employee Julian Surall behind the counter at Ike’s Love & Sandwich Shop in Modesto, California, on Friday, when he saw a man approach a mother pushing a stroller outside the restaurant. Minutes later, he heard a frantic cry for help.

After asking for directions, the man allegedly grabbed the woman’s purse out of the bottom of her stroller and began to sprint away, before eventually tripping and spilling of the contents of the bag on the sidewalk. As the woman tried to grab the handle of her handbag, the man snatched the other side and a struggle ensued.

“We were both pulling and I thought, I don’t have the strength, he is going to my wallet,” Victoria FitzGerald, who, with her 3-year-old son at the time, told the Modesto bee. “And I stuck my foot in the loop of my wallet … and I started to shout for help.”


Surall immediately came to help, when the door of the restaurant, and after the suspect, who then went with empty hands.

“If he ran away, a Ike the employee, Julian, gave chase and captured the suspect a few blocks away,” the Modesto Police Department said in an online statement, adding that the suspected thief — identified as Stephen Bartlett — was later arrested “by Julian’s actions.”

Stephen Bartlett was charged with suspicion of theft after the Feb. 22 incident.
(Modesto Police Department)

Surrall, 24, and one of his customers caught the man hiding in a nearby hotel and took him. She gave the staff to call the police and Bartlett was then taken into custody. Bartlett was booked for suspicion of theft with a bail of $50,000, police said.


Then FitzGerald to pay for the Surall a visit to thank him for coming to her rescue.

“I said to him, ‘You’re a hero,’ and he said, ‘Nah,'” FitzGerald recalled the Californian newspaper.

While Surrall allowed many people of his age may be more inclined to tape the incident, that is not the type of person he is.

“I’ve always been like that. That is the way our parents raised us … If you can help someone, do that.”

— Julian Surall

“I’ve always been like that. That is the way our parents raised us … If you can help someone, you do that,” Surrall said, near the presumption that it is so disrespectful.”

The Modesto Police later presented Surrall with a challenge coin to thank him for being a “great neighbor.” Dozens of residents responded to the police’s Facebook post detailing the meeting, praised Surrall for stepping up.

“Well done Julian!!!! Brave men like you make us feel safe! GOD bless you !!!” a woman cried out.

“You’re a hero Julian! What a great man you are! They are also very lucky to have you for an employee. Stand proud,” another wrote.

“Julian,you are a true Hero! Modesto is a better place with you here. Thank you, and God bless you,” a third added.

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