Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.
He immediately grabbed the person's wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.
"I guess he thought I was an easy mark," Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.
He's anything but an easy mark: Barnes served in the Marines, was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and retired after 20 years as an iron worker.
Jesse Daniel Rae, the 27-year-old Newaygo County man accused of trying to pick Barnes' pocket, was arraigned Monday in Rockford District Court on one count of unarmed robbery, a 15-year felony.
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Barnes said he'd probably do the same thing again under the same circumstances, if for no other reason than what he would face back home.
"I wouldn't want my wife to give me hell for lettin' that guy get my money," he said with a smile.