A tire iron-wielding man who police said was looking to mug a senior citizen probably thought he had found an easy target — that is, until the 74-year-old fought back.

Bruce Ferraro had no idea someone was following him as he walked out of a department store at the South Shore Mall on Saturday and got into his car, police said. But then a man pounded on Ferraro's window and demanded cash.

"Ferraro says, 'What, are you kidding me?' and he actually gets out of the car," said Det. Sgt. Thomas Groneman, of the Suffolk County Police Department.

The mugger demanded Ferraro hand over his wallet, calling the Bay Shore resident an "old man" and threatening to hit him with the tire iron, Groneman said.

Instead, Ferraro grabbed the bar and the two fought, until the septaugenarian managed to snatch away the tire iron, police said.

Groneman said Ferraro did "a good job" of disarming his would-be assailant, though he would not recommend other people attempt such a brazen act of self-defense.

Without the weapon, the 32-year-old suspect ran to his car and attempted to drive away, police said. But the vehicle stalled, and the man got out of the car and fled on foot. Ferraro later helped police identify the suspect.

The man was arrested later Saturday at his home in West Babylon. Police charged him with attempted robbery and he was being held on $10,000 bail in Riverhead.

Ferraro's only injury was a scrape on the wrist.