Purse-snatcher targets elderly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Ava Jordan, 96, and a friend had just pulled into the parking lot of Dr. Chittom’s medical clinic Wednesday. Jordan’s friend, who is in her 80s, came around to the passenger side of the car to help Jordan get out.

Jordan recalled she had her purse draped over her left arm.

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She said she spotted a young man walking toward them from across the street, but didn’t think anything of it.

The elderly ladies had parked close to the door and assumed the man was also headed to the doctor’s office.

Suddenly and brazenly, the man snatched Jordan’s purse, then reached around and grabbed her friend’s, then fled on foot.

Jordan said her friend chased him briefly, but he was far too fast for her to catch.

“It was so fast. It just happened and he was gone,” Jordan said.

Neither of the ladies was hurt, and Jordan indicated she was fortunate because she was only carrying some change, medical cards and an old, out-dated driver’s license.

Her friend, however, was not as fortunate and had a lot more valuables stolen.

The ladies ambled into the doctor’s office and told the staff what had happened. They were very alarmed about it and called police immediately, she said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, Jordan’s friend said that the incident has made her a lot more aware of her surroundings.

While at Wal-Mart recently, she noticed a lot of women leaving their purses lying around. She approached them about it and told them about what happened to her.

In hindsight, she said, ” I felt like he was targeting elderly people.”

Thieves do often prey upon people they may consider an easy target, agreed Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin.

To protect themselves from purse-snatchers, he advises women not to carry purses loosely in their hands. He also recommends keeping valuables, such as cash, credit cards and other items tightly secured to your body.

“If possible, keep it (your purse) in the trunk of your vehicle and take only what you need,” into a store or other place of business, cautioned Martin.

He also pointed out that criminals are often aware of when elderly people cash checks and that those who receive checks in the mail should seriously consider direct deposit, so that they can avoid a situation of having a large amount of cash stolen from them.

Police are investigating the crime, however, no arrest have been made at this time.