Crime analysts are looking into whether this is a new trend.
"Really, it's really scary. The only thing I said on the phone is 'Help me, help me,'" said the victim, who asked Eyewitness News to protect her identity.
One crisis in the midst of another is the last thing the woman expected. She was driving from the bank, back home to Jacinto City.
"My car is a new car and that's very unusual for me to have a flat tire," she said. "Suddenly, somebody smashed the passenger side of my window."
Someone apparently slashed her tire outside the Chase Bank off the East Freeway, leaving her no option but to pull over.
"She was probably followed from the bank," HPD officer Jim Woods said. "She pulled in to a location she thought was safe, got on the phone, called somebody."
Minutes later, she was burglarized.
"He pulled up in a white car, he jumped out of the car then went right over to the window, busted it out, pulled the purse out," witness Lilly Stevens said.
Stevens had a front row seat to the scheme, from her desk at Discount Mini Storage.
"They come up, knock the window out then grab the property," Stevens said.
"My bag was on passenger side and that's it, they grabbed the bag," the victim said.
Police believe they've done it before and will do it again.
The thief got away with her purse and the $500 she'd just withdrawn from the bank. She was stranded, still driving on a spare tire and too scared to go anywhere alone.
"I keep looking like, don't stop here, don't park here, not a safe place!" the victim said.
The getaway car is a light-colored sedan with no license plates.
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.