Purse snatchers hit Foothills
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Purse snatchers have hit three victims at one spot in the Foothills in less than a week.
The attacks happened at Sunrise and Swan.
Pima Sheriffs Deputies deputies regard these purse snatches as serious business because the criminals are willing to get so close to pull them off. The purses were maybe an arm's length away when the thieves grabbed them.
Surveillance video shows a man cruising into the Safeway, as if scanning for victims.
Video from the parking lot shows him grabbing a purse, and running to a gold, late model SUV. The victim runs towards the car too and the driver almost hits her in the rush to get away.
The Sheriff's department says this was not the rip off team's only performance.
They robbed someone who'd just left a bank ATM and grabbed a purse from a Starbucks.
Deputy Dawn Barkman says, "Who knows what he would have done. Who knows what force he would have used he she had resisted and he tried to hold onto her purse. Who knows what he would have done. So the progression is definitely there and we definitely want to get our hands on these individuals to stop what's happening."
Investigators have not shared video that shows how the thieves lurked in the parking lot waiting for someone to leave a purse unattended---unattended by maybe just the foot or so that made the thieves see their opportunity.
Attorney Hal Valentine says he did a lot of work with police departments, so he learned the value of watching who's around you and what they're doing.
"They'll cruise and look for a suspect; and they'll say hey there's someone that looks pretty good to me. I'm gonna just watch and if it's an older person, they'll try to make the grab."
Mary White says an experience years ago taught her to keep a tight grip on her purse.
"I've been mugged before. I was mugged in New York City one time so I know how bad it can be.
Some of the people we talked to suggested this sort of robbery relates to the holidays and the idea that robbers figure you may be toting extra cash.
The Sheriff's Department doesn't really see a trend here, they're just mainly concerned that someone willing to come close and grab your stuff could be willing to hurt you as well as rob you.