Snatcher takes purse from stopped car at light

HOLIDAY — She was sitting at a red light, talking on the phone with her husband and didn't notice her passenger door quietly open.

But when she looked over, there was a face peering back at her and an arm reaching for her purse.

The snatching occurred Saturday night at U.S. 19 and Continental Drive, according to a Sheriff's Office report. The woman struggled to hold onto her purse, but the strap snapped and the man got away. He fled in a blue pickup that was parked at a nearby Winn-Dixie.

The Times is withholding the woman's name because no arrest has been made.

In an interview Monday, the 61-year-old said she's still afraid of her attacker because of what he has: her driver's license with her home address and the keys to her house.

"After this happened, I couldn't sleep I was so scared," she said.

He also took another cell phone that was in the purse, but turned it off right away so its location couldn't be tracked. The woman said she canceled her debit card and has since checked with her bank. No one has tried to use the card.

The woman, who immigrated to the United States from Russia almost 30 years ago, said she is usually very cautious in public, the type who scans parking lots for suspicious-looking people.

Her car, she said, automatically locks when the engine starts, so she doesn't have to think about that precaution.

But on Saturday, she was in her husband's Nissan Murano. After grocery shopping at Winn-Dixie, she got in and left it unlocked.

"I learned a very good lesson," she said.

She hopes other people do, too.

"I just want people to be safe," she said, "because it's horrible."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Snatcher takes purse from stopped car at light 07/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:44pm]

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