Suspected robber dressed in drag nabbed at Chesterfield Towne Center

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-02 10:05:09-05

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)- Sources told CBS 6 News that a 911 call Friday night was a diversion, someone trying to draw police to a bogus crime scene to keep them away from the real one.

But in the end, the scheme was foiled by an off-duty Richmond Police officer.

Chesterfield Police are now investigating a bizarre, botched armed-robbery and larceny inside a jewelry store near and entrance to the Chesterfield Towne Center by the Genghis Grill.

"Now I don't want to go by myself, because I don't want to get hurt,” said shopper Rachel Schutt who was at the mall with her sister.

Shoppers and some people eating lunch witnessed what looked like a woman trying to get away.

"I was at lunch with my girlfriend,” said Richmond Police Officer Jonathan Nathanson, who was off-duty at the time.  “She noticed a number of  people running through the corridor at Chesterfield Towne Center.  "I looked back and saw a female with a hammer being chased by 2 males."

Police sources said the original 911 call came from a woman claiming the Arby's near the old Cloverleaf Mall was being robbed, but she hung up.  Sources say about 30 minutes later when police got things sorted out over at Chesterfield Towne Center, they found out the female suspect caught by Nathanson was, in fact, the one who made that 911 call.

But the story gets even more bizarre.

"I was struggling with the person and I was like, this is the strongest lady I've ever encountered,”  said Nathanson.  “Come to find out, it was a man, when the wig came off.”

Sources tell me Chesterfield Police left the scene with accused robber dressed in drag and say the investigation is ongoing.

Shoppers simply couldn't believe it.  "It’s weird and stupid, because you're not going to get anything with a hammer,” said Katrina Schutt. “But people are stupid.”

For Nathanson, it was a lunch date he won't soon forget.   "It’s really second nature,” he said.  “I was just trying to step in and preserve life and limb."

Police sources said a $16,000 diamond was taken, but they believe it was recovered.

We tried to contact Chesterfield Towne Center management about the case, but they did not return our phone calls.