In that moment, the octogenarian made moves that would eventually grant her Internet notoriety within a subgenre of viral crime stories, in which women of retirement age fend off home invaders with their decades of might. We’ve read about the 79-year-old great grandmother who scared a would-be thief into a closet after shooting at him; the Philly great-grandmother who chased a burglar, bloodied by her bullets, out of her home; and the Georgia grandmother who fought off two armed attackers who tried to tie her up, which she categorized as a “grannies gone wild” feat.
And now we have Willie Murphy, who, unbeknown to her intruder, is an award-winning bodybuilder who says she can dead-lift 225 pounds.
“He picked the wrong house to break into,” she told ABC 13.
In her version of the story, which she recounted in great detail to her friends at the local YMCA — where she works out almost daily — the 82-year-old said she hit him so hard with a nearby table that it broke.
“And when he’s down,” she continued, “I’m jumping on him.”
Next, she said, she poured a bottle of shampoo on his face. Then she started batting at him with a broom.
“I’m alone, and I’m old,” Murphy told ABC 13. “Guess what? I’m tough.”
Murphy said she “did a number on that man.”
According to the Rochester Police Department, officers responded to Murphy’s home at 10:53 p.m. Thursday. Officials say Murphy actually struck the man in the head with a stool, not a table. She did not ask police to file any charges because the man, whom police did not identify, had been “extremely intoxicated and not aware of what was going on.”
“Ms. Murphy wanted the suspect to get medical treatment,” police said in a statement.
Murphy, a retired social worker, has made headlines before.
She was featured on the “Today” show last year for her record-setting participation in the World Natural Powerlifting Federation. At the time, Murphy was 81, weighed 105 pounds and stood strong at 5 feet flat. She told “Today” she began powerlifting in her mid-70s so she could stay healthy, fit and independent.
“When it snows in Rochester, guess who’s doing the snow?” she said in the interview. “Me.”
The powerlifting federation had to add an age division just for Murphy, the “Today” segment reported. She said she had introduced other senior women at the YMCA to lifting, too.
After the man was given medical attention Thursday night, Murphy told ABC 13, the responding officers lingered.
“The officers that came wanted to go on my front porch and take selfies with me,” she said.