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Suspect In Sawgrass Mills Mugging: "Sorry...I Need School Clothes"

SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – A woman who was mugged at the Sawgrass Mills Mall said her attacker made a remarkable confession. He says he stole her necklace because he needed "clothes for school."

"I was amazed that he said that and it is sad," said Angie Barnaby, who was assaulted and robbed early Sunday evening inside a parking garage next to the Burlington Coat Factory.

Barnaby spoke with CBS4's Peter D'Oench after the suspect appeared on newly-released surveillance video. She said the man can be seen on the tape following Barnaby and then jumping her as she is about to enter her car.

Moments later, very clear images from other surveillance cameras show the man inside the Nordstrom Rack store.

"It seemed like he may have been looking at another victim," said Barnaby, who works as a judicial assistant at the Broward Courthouse.

"I work in the legal system and I have very clear details about this person," she told D'Oench. "He is black, has a slim build, is 5-foot-9 inches tall, between 160 and 165 pounds and is between 18 and 21 years old. He has short cropped hair and he has no tattoos or distinguishing marks that I can remember."

"I've never been through anything like this before and I hope it will never happen again," said Barnaby.

She said the surveillance tape shows him inside the Nordstrom Rack store at 5:30 on Sunday night.

She said he is first seen following her to her car inside the parking garage.

The suspect jumps her and pulls at her necklace. She told D'Oench that it is a 12", link necklace that was purchased 16 years ago by her husband for $350 as a gift for her. "It has sentimental value," she said, showing CBS4 a photo of that necklace.

"When he came at me and started pulling, the necklace wouldn't break so I turned around. I didn't want any harm done to me so I told him I would give it back to him if he would just let it go and he did."

She took off her necklace and heard a remarkable confession.

"He said I am very sorry," she said. "He said I just need clothes for school and I said this is not the way to do it. I gave him the chain and he ran away. It's just sad."

A photo shows the mark on her neck from the struggle.

"Besides a little bit of bruising on the neck, the fact that he felt this was the way to make a living. I could have been with children. There were children in the parking lot with families," Barnaby said.

She urged shoppers to be careful.

"I would just tell people to be extra aware of your surroundings and just wear as much minimal jewelry as possible. I only had on a necklace. I don't think I could have been more careful than I was. I did look behind me. I did look on both sides. He wasn't there."

Barnaby said that she is going to be ok. She hopes her attacker will be caught before someone else gets hurt. She said he seemed desperate.

If you have any information that can help Sunrise Police, call them or Broward Crimestoppers at (954)493-TIPS (8477).

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