A mugger explained that he had turned to crime to get money for school clothes, according to the victim.
Angie Barnaby said she was heading back to her car after shopping at the Burlington Coat Factory at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida, when she was assaulted Sunday night.
"All of a sudden I was being choked by my chain being yanked off my neck,” she said.
'I couldn't believe it'
The person tugging on the other end of the necklace couldn’t have been more than 22 years old, Barnaby estimated.
"I said, 'Let it go – I'll give it to you. Just let it go',” she said.
It was then that the suspect provided an explanation for what he was doing, she said.
"I couldn't believe it – he had a look and he said, 'I need money for school clothes',” Barnaby recalled.
She said the 15-year-old necklace was a gift from her husband. It cost about $350, but held great sentimental value for her, and the pendant hanging from it was a cross.
"I'm angry but I'm more sad he felt he has to resort to these measures,” she said.
The man, who wore all black, didn’t run away from the mall, but instead ran right back inside, Barnaby said.
Sunrise Police quickly responded, and on surveillance video saw the man re-entering the mall.
Police have not made an arrest.
Barnaby, who was left with marks on her neck, said she worries that the suspect could try to hurt someone else in a desperate act. She said she was lucky.
"This could have gone much more terribly wrong for a necklace,” she said.