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VIDEO: New Yorkers Restrain Man Who Mugged Arizona Mom

By Murray Weiss | June 4, 2015 5:07pm | Updated on June 5, 2015 6:01pm

MANHATTAN — An Arizona tourist who brought her children to New York for their first visit to the city was mugged in Midtown and dragged half a block by her attacker before a group of Good Samaritans and police captured him and rescued her cash and belongings.

Jaime Cowgur, 36, was finishing a two-day swing through the Big Apple with her teenaged son and daughter when she suddenly felt a hand reaching into her back pocket as she walked along West 35th Street near Eighth Avenue Wednesday around 6:15 p.m.

“What are you doing?” she demanded as she grabbed his wrist. But then he grabbed her backpack straps and try to rip it from her back.

The assailant, identified by police as Theordore Shearin, 37, pulled so hard he yanked her onto the pavement in front of startled pedestrians and motorists.  But Cowgur would not let go.

“I did not let go because my instinct was how am I going to get home without what’s in it,” Cowgur told “On The Inside.”

As she was dragged along the street, skinning her knee and splitting a lip, her wallet and other belongings spilled onto the street. Shearin grabbed her wallet, took $40 out of it and tried to flee, according to police records.

That’s when a handful of Good Samaritans flew into action, tackled the 6-foot-1 suspect and held him in a chokehold and by his legs until he let go of the money.

He managed to break free, but Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police officers Valeriy Propisnoy and Kenneth Murray chased Shearin two blocks before capturing him, police said.

Shearin, who lives on Staten Island and has prior drug and robbery arrests, was charged with robbery and assault, police said.  He was also charged with possessing the hallucinogenic drug, PCP.

Cowgur, who had previously visited New York but never with her children, said she came this time because her son “was always enthralled by New York” and had “always wanted to see it.”

Up until the assault, their stay was magical, she said.

“We did the typical stuff, rode bikes in Central Park, went to the top of the Empire State Building,” he said. “We were typical tourists and my children loved it.”

She said she had left them at the hotel packed and ready to take an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C. to visit relatives when the assault occurred.

"I told them what happened and that there unfortunately are bad people everywhere,” she said.

But one Bad Apple did not sour her on The Big Apple.

“So many people came to my aid,” the Phoenix resident said. “Civilians who I don’t know, police officers, men and women who came over asking if I was all right.

“It was pretty amazing,” she added. “People were so warm. I still love New York. It’s a great place.“