A guy running down the street with a big purple handbag is not our usual idea of a macho man.

He becomes even more of a sissy when we learn he stole the handbag from a Tucson woman after knocking her down and wrenching it from her shoulder May 24.

Mario N. Rieke/TPD photo

Mario N. Rieke/TPD photo

The 50-year-old victim was running after the thief when a cop spotted the action near Stone Avenue and Fort Lowell Road.

Mario N. Rieke, 21, was arrested in connection with the crime. The woman got her purse and money back. But we still think the snatcher owes her a new handbag since he did rip the strap.

Purse snatching is definitely near the top on the list of most cowardly crimes.

The macho crime of purse snatching pits the “big bad robber” against the proverbial “little old lady.” No, we’re not saying this particular victim was old. But she was caught unawares and at a major disadvantage.

Not only is the snatcher often preying on someone who is usually smaller and weaker than himself, but he also often ends up, as we saw, running around town with a purple handbag.

Doesn’t get much more macho than that.

Fake jail file photo/Ryn Gargulinski

Fake jail file photo/Ryn Gargulinski

We wonder how purse snatchers fare in jail. And we wonder if they admit what they are in for.

Tucson police report 84 macho purse snatchings in 2009.

Arson is another crime that involves a quick, illegal act and then running away as fast as the coward can. Torching an inanimate object and is not going to win any valor awards.

Tucson police’s total of fiery cowards last year was 215.

Animal cruelty is a coward’s haven. Abusing man’s best friend, a woman’s best cat or a child’s puppy takes a special kind of sissy.

These folks aren’t even man enough to pick on a human victim, whom at least has a chance in heck of defending itself with some type of weapon – like a gun.

Tucson animal cruelty stats were not readily available, but Pet-Abuse.com did list 26 cases in Arizona since the beginning of 2009.

One case is a guy in Chino Valley accused of sexually molesting of a 6-month-old puppy. This case definitely veers from the cowardly and into the just plain sick.

Child abuse again gives us innocent victims. To make it even worse, the victims are often in the care of the very person who ends up abusing them.

Child abusers take the crime even lower when the abuse happens to be molestation or sexual in nature. Child molesting is also the lowest crime on the prison totem pole, with other inmates often shunning the child molester – or worse.

Tucson police stats for 2009 include 319 cases of child molestation and 292 physical assaults in the offenses against family and children categories.

One more cowardly crime even sounds cowardly: hit and run. As evidenced by purse snatching and arson, any crime where the criminal runs away is definitely for sissies.

Sure, the driver can always claim he had no idea he had hit or run over a person – but we heard even a little rabbit can make a mighty bump.

Tucson police stats say 80 hit and runs involving pedestrians went down last year, one of them fatal.

Sure, the driver may have gotten away with it per se because he or she isn’t rotting in jail.

But we wonder how the person goes to sleep at night.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who has never had her purse snatched but once had her wallet stolen. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

logoWhat do you think?

Have you ever been victim of a cowardly crime?

Have you ever fought back and given the cowardly criminal a black eye?

What’s the most cowardly crime you can think of?