‘We Wrestled': 89-Year-Old Woman Fights Off Home Intruder

Gerri Dickens was able to call for help using a medical alert system.

Quick thinking helped an 89-year-old California woman chase away a robber who had forced his way into her Burbank home, police said Saturday.

Gerri Dickins was home alone Friday night when she heard a knock at the door and opened it to see a man she didn't know.

"I opened it up a little bit, and he pushed his way in and then he said, 'I came here to take your things,'" Dickins said. "And I said, 'I have no things.'"

When Dickins tried to fight back against the intruder, he threw a chair and footstool at her, and placed a sheet over her mouth when she screamed.

"We wrestled with each other," Dickins said.

He also grabbed the phone when she tried to dial 911, but thanks to a medical alert system, Dickins was still able to call for help.

"It was on the console on the kitchen counter," said Dickins' daughter, Tracey Cawdrey. "She had presence of mind all the way."

The man also threatened to shoot Dickins, though she said she never saw a gun.

"He said, 'I'm gonna shoot you.' I says, 'Go ahead and shoot me,'" Dickins said.

The man spent about a half hour inside the home but didn't take anything valuable, Dickins said, and fled before police arrived just after 8:20 p.m.

Dickins was treated for cuts and bruises on her arms and face, and though Burbank police said that she shouldn't have fought back, Dickins said she would do it again if necessary.

"It makes me mad," she said.

Burbank police described the intruder as a man about 30-years-old, 5 foot 9 inches tall with a medium build and dressed in dark clothes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Burbank police at 818-238-3000.

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