This article originally appeared in The Daily News on Nov. 22, 1988.
It was like a scene out of a Clint Eastwood movie.
There was the tough assistant district attorney surrounded by menacing hoodlums on a dark city street. He had one of the men by the neck, pointing a pistol at his head.
“Anybody makes a move, I’ll blow his head off,” snarled the prosecutor.
Yesterday, Assistant DA Alan Basewitz was hailed as a hero after he testified against the man he had held around the neck, Samuel Veal, of Ringgold Street near Wharton in South Philadelphia.
A Common Pleas jury found Veal guilty of robbery. Judge Ricardo C. Jackson committed him to prison to await sentencing.
Basewitz testified that he was walking on Broad Street near Catharine in South Philadelphia shortly before 2 a.m. June 18 when he saw a group of about 10 men standing around a 19-year-old woman who was using a public telephone.
The DA, who prosecutes drug cases, said he saw the men push the woman against the phone and Veal grab her pocketbook. The gang ran, toward Basewitz.
The prosecutor pulled his gun and confronted the robbers. “Freeze!” he shouted in true Eastwood fashion.
After collaring Veal, he dragged the suspect into a nearby store, where he got a cashier to call police.
Some of Veal’s friends came into the store, he said.
"We went outside, and within 10 seconds an officer drove up. "
Around the same time, a 19-year-old sailor approached, still stunned from a beating and robbery five minutes earlier on Broad Street. He pointed to Veal as the man who had beaten him after an unidentified man had robbed him.