Woman fights back against purse snatcher

January 5, 2008 8:46:58 PM PST
A woman trying to help out a man ended up the target of a thief. She doesn't want to show her face, or reveal her name. But she wants her story to be a lesson for everyone about the dangers of not paying attention to their surroundings. If you stop at the Sunrise Store, you could get lucky playing the lottery.

"I had just got a lottery ticket," the woman told us.

We'll call the woman Karen. She was hoping to do just that Wednesday when she stopped to buy a ticket. Instead, she won a different kind of lottery, picked by a purse snatcher as his next victim.

As she left the store, she noticed a young man had dropped his wallet. She wanted to do the right thing.

"I bent over in his car to tell him, 'You dropped this,' and he grabbed my purse and he pushed me back, and I fell," she said.

What happened next surprised even Karen.

"I had my cell phone in my hand and i just started beating him in his face," she told us. "I just took out all of my 67 years of not being a violent and physical person on him, I really did."

"I guess he's never had anybody to fight back," Karen continued. "But I am a fighter. I'm a fighter."

She tells us he didn't fight back, but still, she was hurt.

"His tire ran over my foot," said Karen. "I went back out of the way."

Police say the man, Eugenio Hernandez, drove away at first, but Karen was still holding his wallet.

"I wanted my purse and I was angry he was violating me," she said.

Police caught their suspect and Karen got her purse back. She lost $80 in cash, but as it turns out, won a hundred on a Christmas scratch-off ticket. It's not the only luck she had that day.

"He could have had a gun and I was on top of him in the car, and I could be dead right now," she said. "And thank God that didn't happen."

Karen says she will think twice about fighting back because it is so dangerous. Police say in addition to the victim's purse, someone else's ID and credit card and some stereo equipment were also found in Hernandez's vehicle.

- Headlines at a glance