By Alexandria Hoff


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One minute, John Sabalauskas was behind the wheel. The next, he was on top of a guy who attacked a woman in Center City and risking his own safety to help a complete stranger.

Sabalauskas is a tow truck driver with CCC Towing and on Thursday, he offered a different kind of assistance.

Around 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sabalauskas was driving east down Market Street when he was about to cross over 21st Street. Then, he heard something terrible.

The radio was playing a song, but if you listen closely to the dash cam recording he showed Eyewitness News, you might be able to make out what sounds like a siren in the background. That was actually the desperate cries of a young woman.

“I seen her face, seen him, threw the truck in park, jumped out of the truck and ran over,” Sabalauskas said.

Sabalauskas said he saw the woman on her back, frightened and fighting off a man who was on top of her.

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“Trying to rip her bag off her back,” Sabalauskas said. “She had like a school bag, trying to rip it off. I screamed as I did that, he grabbed her laptop and he proceeded to run down 21st northbound, so I gave chase.”

He also yelled to another bystander.

“Grab him! As he started to run by that gentleman, that gentleman reached out, grabbed him by the shoulder, I guess threw him off-balance and as them two fell, I was already on top of both of them, holding this guy down,” Sabalauskas said.

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The two good Samaritans held the man in place while a police officer was flagged down. A nearby business caught the conclusion as more officers arrived and took the would-be robber into custody.

Sabalauskas said the woman didn’t appear to have any serious injuries and brushes off those who have asked, “What if the suspect was armed?”

“They didn’t see the look on that girl’s face that I saw,” he said. “The way she was on that ground screaming and nobody was helping.”

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With his own daughter by his side, Sabalauskas hopes someone else would rush into action for her.

Sabalauskas was only able to speak with the victim for a moment and he never got her name.

Alexandria Hoff