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From pursuit to life-saving measures: officer saves thief after he has a heart attack mid-chase


Source: NYPD

Graham Rayman, Ellen Moynihan and Leonard Greene
New York Daily News

Only a luckless loser could steal from a drug store and have a heart attack during the getaway.

Accused thief Steven Davis, 49, who was collared after collapsing last month near a Manhattan CVS that had just been robbed, said he was giving up the criminal life after quick-thinking cops saved his life.

But a neighbor who knows Davis pretty well said he’s heard that story before — except for the heart attack, and the part where Davis conks out while trying to lug cases of the nutrition drink Ensure along E. 66th St.

Cops responding to a call for a robbery in progress Sept. 27 found a man matching the description of the suspect stretched out in the street next to a suitcase filled with stolen merchandise.

“I thought he was hit by a car,” said Sgt. James Gebhard, one of the responding officers, who thought he’d seen everything after 12 years with the NYPD. “His front teeth were knocked out. It was like someone turned off the switch. He must have fallen face first.”

Gebhard went from cop mode to lifesaver mode and administered CPR he learned at the police academy until he was able to feel Davis’ pulse. An EMS unit arrived and transported Davis to a hospital.

Davis, a Harlem man with 14 prior arrests, got out of the hospital three days later, and was fingerprinted at the 19th Precinct, where Gebhard works, and was charged with petit larceny, harassment and attempted assault for allegedly taking a swing at a store clerk.

He thanked the sergeant for saving him, and said he was done with thug life.

Yeah, right, says a longtime neighbor.

“He says this every time,” said the neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified. “Literally every time he’s caught he says he’s giving it all up. I’ve seen the cycle of him being arrested, facing the loss of his freedom, being sorry. You’d have to be naive to think this time would be different.

“I tried to put him up, I’ve given him the chance to do it right. He doesn’t know another way.”


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