MARTA board member Jim Durrett's recovered iPhone
MARTA board member Jim Durrett
MARTA board member Jim Durrett with his bicycle
Photo of phone thief suspect taken by MARTA board member Jim Durrett
ATLANTA -- An avid bicyclist, MARTA board member Jim Durrett has been an amateur athlete most of his life.
That's one reason why at age 56 he was able to chase down a phone thief who's 40 years younger.
It happened Saturday morning while he was waiting for his wife and brother-in-law to meet him at MARTA's Lindbergh station, right next to MARTA headquarters in Buckhead.
"(I) was looking at an email when suddenly the iPhone was snatched out of my hand and I looked up and a young man was running down the street, running away from me with my phone in his hand," Durrett told 11Alive News on Monday.
"Once it registered what had happened, I knew I needed to pursue him," he added.
Kicking off the Crocs he was wearing, Durrett ran barefoot, chasing the 16-year-old suspect more than 300 yards down the street until he caught up with the winded teenager who'd stopped.
"(He) put his hands down on his knees, panting and stood waiting for me to come up to him," Durrett said.
Durrett said as the teen dropped the phone and took off again, he was able to reclaim it and take a photo of him.
MARTA police soon found the suspect in some nearby woods and Durrett quickly identified him.
But as he drove to the north Georgia mountains later in the day he couldn't get the young man out of his mind.
Now he wants to follow the case, find out more about the 16-year-old, and try to help the juvenile straighten out his life.
"This is something that I can do that might be able to help a young man who can become productive and take this opportunity and really make something of himself," Durrett told 11 Alive.
"Who knows, something really great may come of it; it's worth it," he added.
Although still sore from the foot chase, Durrett managed to win a bicycle race the next day -- in the over 55 category, of course.