Robb Revelli, an Oakland-based carpenter, was minding his own business inside a local AM-PM convenience store when he saw 90-year-old lady being knocked to the ground outside by an attacker who ran away.
Revelli, 36, helped the woman grab her credit cards that fell during the attack on Monday, then asked if she wanted to go to the hospital or chase the attacker.
"If she was down, I was down to go get him," he tells a local NBC News affiliate
, "and we did."
The pair caught up to the alleged attacker, identified by police as 27-year-old Damarea Johnson.
"[I] caught him in a headlock, and he started throwing money," Revelli, a former rugby player, says, according to the Oakland Tribune
. "He kept fighting the whole time. I had scratches on my face."
As Revelli held the man, the woman called 911 to report the crime – and to praise her rescuer.
"He's an excellent, wonderful fellow," the woman, whose identity has not been released, told police on the call. "I hope God protects him and blesses him for the rest of his life."