It was a bad day for thieves in Belfast as a crime fighting boxer foiled two robberies within a half an hour.
‘Sugar’ Sean McComb is a budding boxer who is a two times Irish champion and recently won a bronze medal at the European Games.
The 23-year-old also works as a tour guide around his famous home city. It’s a good thing he does because it seems to put him in a good position to spot when people are up to no good.
One afternoon he was working for Belfast City Sightseeing Tours when a thief stole a teenager’s handbag in broad daylight.
McComb told the Irish Independent: “It was early on this morning. I was just standing outside city hall working for City Sightseeing Belfast and some girl was standing waiting on her bus just across the street.
“Then I just saw everybody pointing up the street shouting: ‘That guy stole her purse, that guy stole her purse!’
“I just saw him hiding behind a door. He dropped the purse: My colleague lifted it and I kept going because I knew he’d have taken the money out of it.
“The woman was delighted to get the purse back: Her bank card and pin number were in the purse so he could have went to the bank machine and cleared her out.”
The victim was 18-year-old Hayley McAree. She said that she was shaken up by the incident but was extremely grateful that McComb was there.
She told Belfast Live: “When it happened Sean just dropped everything – literally everything – and without thought he chased him down!
“I can’t thank him enough – I don’t know what I would have done or how I’d have coped without his support when it happened. And he reassured me when he came back.
“Honestly my friends and family are so thankful that he was there and I wasn’t harmed in any way and that I got my purse back.”
Around thirty minutes later McComb was walking by the City Hall when he saw a man have his mobile phone stolen from his hand.
McComb said: “I was walking up the town with some customers, and we were coming back down I saw a man running in the front of city hall.
“I saw all my colleagues pointing and pointing – I thought to myself ‘No way, this could not be happening again’.
“A colleague said: ‘Run up that way’. And I said, ‘No there’s no point it’ll be gone’.
“I just started sprinting up after him, grabbed him by the hood and I got the phone back.”
When McComb was later asked about the incidents by Belfast Live he responded modestly. He didn’t seem interested in being seen as a hero, just pleased that he was able to help the victims get their possessions back.
He said: “It’s shocking, but it happens in every city in the world. I’m just happy to help out.
“They were both delighted. You could see it in their faces. For the man to get his phone back and the girl to get the purse back… they’re important items – it saved them both a lot of hassle.”
McComb is hoping to get into the Ireland squad for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. Best of luck to him from all of us at Ireland Calling.