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90-year-old fights purse snatcher

August 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sophia, 90, had the purse on her arm when she says a robber tried to take her purse. However, she did not give in.Sophia only wanted to use her first name when she spoke to Eyewitness News because of the incident.

Sophia says she was approached by a robber in the parking lot of Super King Market in Anaheim last week.

"It happened so quick, you know. You have to have it happen to you to know what a trauma that is," says Sophia.

Authorities allege 22-year-old Michael Hernandez rode his bicycle up to Sophia and tried to steal her purse. However, the 90-year-old held on tight. Sophia says giving up her purse was not an option.

"Oh no, I had my credit cards and everything. No, no! No way! No way would he get that," says Sophia.

The suspect left without her purse.

Sophia ended up with some pain in her arm after the incident.

Authorities say eight to 10 other women were not as fortunate.

Hernandez lives just a few blocks from the Super King Market and allegedly targeted female shoppers.

"What he would do is he would wait until the victim would put their purse in the shopping cart -- where the children sit -- and they would turn around and put their bags inside the car, and he would run by on his bike and he would grab them," says Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Cullen.

Authorities say after Sophia was targeted, they put the supermarket under surveillance. The same day, they arrested Hernandez after he allegedly snatched another woman's purse.

"Obviously it's a crime of opportunity. And he may need it for his drugs or ... who knows?" says Deputy Cullen.

The arrest is a relief for Sophia.

"Just be careful, that's all I have to say. Be careful of your possessions. You can't trust anybody," says Sophia.

Authorities believe Hernandez may have stolen thousands of dollars. They also believe there may be more victims who have not come forward.

If you are a victim, or if you have any information, you should contact the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 628-7170.

 

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