Mayor Herenton becomes witness to crime

A quiet lunch at a familiar restaurant. That's all Memphis mayor Willie Herenton wanted. But he and others got much more than that Friday inside the Whitehaven Piccadilly.

"All of the sudden the cashier screams out--I've been robbed, I've been robbed!" recalls Herenton.

The mayor recounted the crime in an exclusive interview with Action News 5.

"I see the guy running out with the money in his hand," says Herenton.

Mayor Herenton tells us his bodyguard, a Memphis police officer, pursued the suspect. Herenton says he wanted to join in the chase, but the officer had the keys to the car.

"I'd had tackled him--he'd have been in serious trouble," says Herenton.

All joking aside, the mayor admits what happened here today is indicative of what's been happening across the city.

"We are dealing with a lawless community that has a total disregard of the rights of others, property, and many of them are dangerous," says Herenton.

He says nowhere in the city are people completely safe. His lunchtime interruption proves it!

"This robbery occurred in the early afternoon, in the presence of the mayor and police," says Herenton.

Herenton says you can't blame the administration or police for any rise in crime. He says Memphis Police are doing a great job and that Memphis is still a great city.

"But, you have in this population, criminals--I saw one today," says Herenton.

Initially, the robber got away. He was later caught not far from the restaurant, charged, and remains in custody.