Female powerlifter chases down crook who stole her bag — then gives him a black-eye beatdown

March 29 started out like any other work day for Miurell Vargas — that is, until she got word that a crook had broken into her car and made off with her bag and wallet.

With that, Vargas — a 26-year-old powerlifter, WTVJ-TV said — got into her car and started driving around in search of someone carrying her Nike bag, WFOR-TV reported.

Vargas added to WTVJ that she wasn’t concerned about money in her wallet — instead there was something inside it that’s irreplaceable. Something she was willing to literally fight for: “My mom’s picture was in my wallet. And my mom passed away eight years ago.”

Then things got quite a bit more complicated.

Amid her intense search, Vargas hit a vehicle near NW 2nd Avenue and 22nd Lane in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood, WTVJ said.

Surveillance video caught the moment the two cars collided; Vargas was driving the dark-colored car.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But the video recorded something else, too.

It’s quite likely that Vargas spotted the crook around the time of the crash, because video shows her quickly exiting her totaled car and confronting the crook on a sidewalk right there at the intersection.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

“I tried to force and grab my wallet, and he didn’t want to let go of it,” she explained to WFOR. “So … he put his hand behind [him], and I thought he was gonna pull out a gun or a knife. So, that’s when I started punching him — because it was either me or him.”

Image source: YouTube screenshot

“He was yelling that it wasn’t my bag and that I was crazy,” she added to WFOR.

Police soon arrested the suspect, identified as 41-year-old Luis Machado, WTVJ said, adding that he got himself a black eye for his troubles.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

A police report indicates Machado admitted that the wallet wasn’t his but denied breaking into Vargas’ vehicle, WFOR said.

“He admitted to having some of the victim’s property, but then he claims he didn’t know how the property became in his possession, which obviously were conflicting statements that didn’t make sense,” Kiara Delva with Miami police added to WFOR.

The arrest report states Machado is accused of smashing Vargas’ car window while she was at work and stealing a bag and wallet from her, WFOR noted, adding that he was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and petty theft.

The car belonging to the other driver was totaled in the crash, too, WFOR said. But no serious injuries were reported, WTVJ said, adding that Vargas was ticketed for the accident.

“I just want to say sorry to the person that I crashed into,” Vargas told WTVJ. “She gave me a hug. She was very nice. I just want to say sorry to her.”

Vargas told investigators she was so focused on following the suspected thief that she crashed into an oncoming car, WTVJ added.

A most priceless possession

Vargas added to WTVJ that she wasn’t concerned about money in her wallet — instead there was something inside it that’s irreplaceable. Something she was willing to literally fight for: “My mom’s picture was in my wallet. And my mom passed away eight years ago.”

Image source: YouTube screenshot

“So, that was sentimental value for me that I needed to recover,” she added to WTVJ. “That’s why I did it.”

Vargas also noted to WTVJ, “I had so much adrenaline in me that I didn’t think about the consequences.”

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