The weather on Tuesday afternoon was pleasant, so Myretha Clark, 86, decided to spend it outside, chatting with her South Dallas neighbors. They'd been visiting for the better part of two hours when, at about 6:30 p.m., she declared that she was tired and was going home.
A younger neighbor accompanied her, helping her up the steps and unlocking the front door before bidding farewell.
Inside, all seemed as it should have been, and Clark walked to the bathroom and began to change. It wasn't until she was walking to put away her things in the bedroom that she noticed the man standing in her house.
It's not clear from the police report whether she knew who he was; officers would later ID him as 45-year-old Lyndon Bernard Harris, a habitual criminal with a long history of burglary and drug convictions. But Harris clearly recognized her. "Give me your purse, Mrs. Clark," he demanded.
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Clark, terrified, clutched her purse more tightly. Harris, according to police, strode across the room and tried to grab it, yanking on her clothes as he went. It wasn't until the woman fell to the ground that he was able to wrestle it from her grasp.
But while stealing purses from elderly women may in general be relatively easy, just a degree or two tougher than the proverbial candy-from-baby heist, the getaway in this case was not. Harris ran from the back of the house as Clark's cries for help set off a chorus of barking dogs. Three men from the group of neighbors she'd been visiting went to check on Clark only to find Harris sprinting through some bushes behind her house.
One of the men asked what Harris was doing. The "nothing" he got in response was clearly a lie, but, glimpsing the knife in his hand, he let Harris go, and they continued to the front door where they found Clark, her clothes torn. When said that she'd been robbed, two of the men ran after Harris, catching up with him on the other end of an empty lot. The purse and its contents were found scattered along his escape path.
At some point during the pursuit, Harris managed to break his shoulder. It wasn't bothering him much when the cops first arrived; he refused to be treated by paramedics and instead insisted that he just wanted to go home. When it became clear that wasn't in the cards, he acquiesced and was taken to Parkland. No one but Harris seemed terribly upset by the broken shoulder.