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Police: Holiday woman's purse-snatching plans foiled by 83-year-old victim, witnesses

TARPON SPRINGS — A purse robbery was foiled Monday when authorities said the 83-year-old victim and two witnesses stopped the woman responsible.

About 9:30 a.m., Mary Barrineau, of Tarpon Springs, left the Bank of America at 910 E Tarpon Ave. and walked to her car, according to police. Denise Kearin, 31, drove up behind her in a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker, got out of the car and demanded money from the woman.

Barrineau, who had already put her purse in her car, told Kearin no. Kearin, of Holiday, told her she had a gun in her car and said she would get it if Barrineau didn't give her money, police said.

Kearin went into the woman's car and retrieved the purse, then tried to walk back to her Chrysler. Barrineau grabbed Kearin's shirt, and two people who witnessed the incident pulled their cars behind Kearin's Chrysler to prevent her from leaving.

Police officers arrested Kearin on charges of armed robbery as well as violation of probation for a previous fraud charge. Officers did not recover a gun, but they arrested her for armed robbery because she implied she had one, said police spokesman Sgt. Robert Faugno.