Video shows violent purse snatching in Chinatown parking lot

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Police are hoping a clear and startling surveillance video will help them catch the robbers who attacked a woman in Chinatown.

The robbery happened in broad daylight on Dec. 4, 2019.

In the video released Tuesday, you can see a woman walking from the parking lot at 9318 Bellaire Blvd., towards a restaurant in the shopping center.

The video shows a man walking towards the woman and then attempting to grab her purse.

The woman fought back, but the man dragged her by her purse handles behind a getaway car.

Police say the suspect punched the woman a few times while behind the car, and then grabbed her purse, jumped in a vehicle and drove off.

"It looks crazy, like it hurt," exclaimed Courtney Castillo, one of several shoppers who stopped and looked at the video today in the very same shopping center. "Chinatown is Chinatown. There's nowhere you can go in the city that you will be absolutely safe. If you live in River Oaks, you could get mugged."

HPD robbery detective Jeff Brieden says the video is shocking, in part, because it is so relatable. The woman, who did not want to show her face on camera, was just walking to lunch and not doing anything unusual.

"She's not doing anything different than what anyone would do on a normal basis," said Brieden. "I think this is why it's so bothersome because, what could she have done to prevent something like this?"

Police say the main suspect is an African-American male, standing at 5'11'', and weighing 180 pounds. There was another man and a woman in the getaway car. Police say the robbery isn't currently connected to other crimes, but that could change.

"I didn't put it past me that he had targeted other females before," said Brieden, "Just somebody carrying out a cowardly act."

"It's very unfortunate, Chinatown a lot of families come here," said John Ong, who was having lunch in the area. "It's somewhere you hope you can take your family, have a good time, get something nice to eat, get some bubble tea but sometimes, unfortunately, that's the reality."

Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713.222.TIPS or submit an anonymous tip online.

Follow Miya Shay on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.