Teen store clerk chases down thief, returns stolen purse to victim

Teen store clerk chases down thief, returns stolen purse to victim

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A purse snatcher didn't know what he was in for Monday when he tried to steal a woman's purse at Bill's Fresh Market on Johnson Avenue.

Still shaken, the victim didn't wish to be identified, but told Region 8 News the story of having her purse snatched and the unlikely hero who saved the day.

What started as a quick trip to the store for a Jonesboro woman and her grandson turned into a moment she won't forget.

"I'm scared to go back on that street over there because I'm afraid he might be back there," the victim said.

The identity of the man is unknown. However, he's clearly visible on surveillance camera at Bill's Fresh Market.

In the video, the man walks past the woman as she enters the store and places her grandson into the shopping cart.

Early on, it's clear that his intentions aren't good.

After leaving the store, he doubles back inside the store and watches as she places the purse in the front of the cart.

Moments later, he makes his move.

"And I seen the guy coming. I seen him coming but I never even thought you know what was going on," she said. "He got so close, I thought he was gonna grab me or the baby one."

Instead, he snatches her purse and takes off.

Thankfully, some Bill's Fresh Market employees were just around the corner.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I kind of see something happen," Caleb Hargrove said. "We look over and she's like 'He just took off with my purse!'"

Hargrove, a 17-year-old Westside student and employee at Bill's Fresh Market, sprang into action with a few of his coworkers.

"If he hadn't of been there, I wouldn't have had a purse," the victim said.

Luckily for her, but not so lucky for the suspect, Hargrove also plays sports at Westside.

"He had about 40 or 50 yards on us," Hargrove said. "I feel like me playing in sports helped me in making split second decisions."

It also gave him the ability to catch up to the purse snatcher.

"When I caught up to him, I had to stop him somehow," Hargrove said.

Hargrove explained that he was able to shove the man into a puddle of mud. Once he did, he said the man started laughing.

"He saw that he was surrounded," Hargrove said. "He gave us the purse and then he got up and started walking."

Rescued purse in hand, you can see Hargrove come back into view of the surveillance camera.

After a quick hug from the victim, he heads back to work to finish his shift.

When asked if he had a message for the purse snatcher, Hargrove simply replied, "I think he got the message."

The victim has a few tips for other women who might be out shopping, especially alone.

She advised women to buckle their purse into the shopping cart and stay aware of your surroundings.

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