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Purse thieves bagged

With help from an eye-witness, the Selma Police Department was able to close the book on a recent purse-snatching incident.

Selma residents Shirley Boone, Walter Johnson and Willie Patterson were each taken into custody and charged with unlawful breaking and entering of a motor vehicle for an incident that occurred Dec. 7 at a Highland Avenue shopping center.

The theft occurred while a shopper prepared to load groceries into her car.

“The victim reported she had just finished shopping on Highland when she was putting her purse inside the vehicle on the front seat and closed the door and pushed her shopping cart to the drivers side and started to put her groceries in the back seat,” he said. “At that point, she said she turned around and someone stole her purse from the vehicle.”

As the suspect fled the scene, Riley said a witness came to the victim’s aid and was able to give a detailed description of the getaway car — a Ford SUV with damage to the front and back — to authorities. The witness also said the purse snatcher was a black male who jumped into the vehicle, which was driven by a black female.

The detailed description was helpful almost immediately. Riley said Lt. Mike Harris spotted a vehicle matching the description the next night at a service station at the corner of Broad and Highland ad brought Patterson and Boone in for questioning.

“During the interview, Boone admitted to driving the truck at the time of the incident,” he said. “She also told police the suspect that was with her, Willie Patterson, was actually the person identified as the individual who actually took the victim’s purse.”

Patterson was also interviewed and indicated there was another person involved, which led to Johnson’s arrest one day later.

The purse and all items inside were recovered. Unfortunately, Riley said the cash that was inside the purse had been spent.

Riley stressed the importance of information from the witness in bringing the trio to justice. He encouraged others to keep a close eye out, especially during the holidays, if they see a crime taking place.

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