ONLY ON 13: Cookware company founder says Houston panhandler attacked her after she gave him $10

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Cookware company founder says panhandler attacked her after giving $10
Chantal Cookware founder Heida Thurlow told ONLY ABC13 that she was attacked by the panhandler whom she gave money to on Westheimer Road.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An older woman who founded a well-known cookware company was attacked by a panhandler to whom she gave money, the Houston Police Department said.

Heida Thurlow, who founded Chantal Cookware in 1971, said she was stopped at a red light on Westheimer Road at Stoney Brook Drive on Oct. 20 when she noticed a group of vagrants.

"One of them looked really sick and old," Thurlow told Eyewitness News in an interview ONLY ON 13.

Thurlow said she rolled down her window and summoned the man over.

"I gave him $10, and he looked at me, and he said, 'Give me more,'" Thurlow recalled. "I mean, in such an aggressive way. I thought, 'No way I'm giving him anymore.'"

That's when she said the man reached into her car through the window and punched her in the stomach. He also allegedly swiped her wallet off her lap.

"I wasn't frightened. I was mad. Really, I was almost about to get out of the car and punch them back," she said.

It wasn't long before her credit card was being charged at gas stations. Weeks later, the police arrested Sammy Mayfield.

"I have strict instructions from my children not to give any money anymore to any panhandler. I don't want to get into trouble with my kids," Thurlow said.

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