BELMONT SHORE ( — A 67-year-old former Marine in Belmont Shore is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a woman with a cane from a teen robbery suspect.

Al Moreno was sitting inside a Starbucks on Second Street around 1 p.m. on March 6, when he says he saw a teen in a hoodie allegedly robbing Jessica Soffer just outside the door.

The 62-year-old Soffer says she had just crossed the street to meet a friend at the Starbucks when the teen allegedly ran into her, knocked her cane out of her hand and ripped off her necklace. He then fled.

“She got slammed by this thug,” Moreno said. “I just bolted out of my chair out the door and then I speared him … so he and I went down and he was struggling.”

Fearing the 16-year-old suspect may have a weapon, Moreno told CBS2’s Rachel Kim that he then put the teen in a chokehold.

“He didn’t like it. He tapped out. Game over,” he said.

As Kim reports, arriving officers knew Moreno wasn’t an average citizen. The former Marine also served as a Los Angeles police officer on the city’s first gang unit.

He told Kim that when it comes to what he did last Wednesday, it was “really no big deal. It really, really wasn’t.”

Moreno said he wasn’t the only one who tried to help Soffer. He said crowds gathered to make sure the suspect didn’t get away.


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