UPDATE: Police release description of Trader Joe’s biting purse snatcher
A purse snatcher apparently escaped after a wild chase that ended up with him biting a woman outside Trader Joe’s around 6 p.m. in Burien Tuesday evening (Jan. 28).
The purse was retrieved from the thief and returned to its rightful owner, apparently intact.
According to eyewitness Keith Stewart, the suspect escaped in his car after being tracked down by 15 or so people. Bystanders got a picture of his license plate and the police were called.
Here’s more from Keith and his wife:
“I was at the checkout stand and a lady yelled out ‘Stop that man!! He’s got my purse!!’ I looked up and a young man maybe 21 or 22 was running past the bread aisle and rounding the corner trying to escape–indeed holding a purse. Immediately about 15 people ran out after him. I left the checkout and ran out with them, thinking I’d assist in case anybody was in danger. Weird…but I didn’t think about guns or anything…They yanked the purse away from him and handed it back to the lady. At the time, he had about 4 people holding him, so I walked back in to finish purchasing my stuff. I didn’t realize it was about to get a little bit more exciting. For that I’ll turn it over to my wife who saw the whole thing from the car.”
“I was parked right in front of the store with my 4 little ones and I hear screaming and suddenly there’s a mob of people fighting this man. He had made fruit bins fall on his way out of the store. He bit a lady then ran away even though he had 3 people almost in top of him. He got in his car and backed out of the parking lot. One of the men following him caught a pic of his license plate. Police were on their way.”
Another witness told this to The B-Town Blog:
“My wife stopped a man from stealing a woman’s purse tonight at Burien Trader Joe’s.
Guy stole if from a cart and tried to leave the store as she came in.
Broke free from her and another gal (good samitaritan), leaving purse and cell phone and then got into a Van with a woman and drove off.
That’s all we have. Prob warn people to watch their belongings!”
UPDATE 1/30/14: Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office provided the following additional details to The B-Town Blog:
“The victim, a 44-year old SeaTac woman … had her purse in her basket when a white male took it out of her purse and ran out the store.
Other customers and the victim ran after him and caught him outside.
During the struggle, the suspect bit the victim’s thumb (minor injury), then fled in a vehicle that was driven by a white female. The vehicle was described as a green Honda Odyssey van.
The suspect is a white male with blue dreadlocks and was last seen wearing a dark grey coat with shiny grey stripes on the elbows and a green undershirt.
Not in custody yet.”
As we get more details on this incident, we’ll update this post…