Purse snatchers targeting women in southwest Houston

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston police are investigating a series of purse-snatchings, including one in which a woman was pepper-sprayed and dragged through a parking lot.

Two incidents happened at the Randalls parking lot on Holcombe, the other at a gas station on Buffalo Speedway at the Southwest Freeway. They say the criminals were all after one thing; the victims' purses.

In the Randalls case, police say the suspects were driving a gray sedan both times, waiting and watching for women who were alone, carrying purses.

On June 30, a 76-year-old woman had her purse on her shoulder and was loading groceries when someone walked up to her, and grabbing her purse so hard the shoulder strap broke. The suspect ran to a waiting car and took off.

Yesterday, there was another purse-snatching and this one got violent.

The victim says she was getting in her car, her purse on her shoulder, when a woman tapped on her shoulder and sprayed her with mace. The victim told Eyewitness News she tried to fight back, but the suspect pulled her to a nearby car that took off.

"When they did that, I fell to the ground, my arm was caught in my purse and kind of drug me through the parking lot and then I was able to get my arm free," said the victim, who did not want to be identified.

She described the suspects were black, and a female suspect who attacked her had silver teeth. In both cases a getaway car was parked very close to the victim's car.

The third incident involved what police call "sliders." A thief "slides" into a victim's car from the passenger side while they are pumping gas and not paying attention.

A woman was getting gas at the Shell station and someone sneaked into her car and swiped her purse. The woman said it happened so fast she didn't even notice until after she drove away.
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