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Teens tackle suspect in Village purse theft

A suspect is in custody on Monday morning after attempting to snatch a woman’s purse and getting tackled by a good Samaritan.

Just after 11 a.m., the victim, a 63-year-old woman, was sitting outside 42nd Street Bagel when the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Thaddeus Sanchez of La Verne, allegedly grabbed her purse and ran, Lt. Karlan Bennett of the Claremont Police Department said.

But the snatcher didn’t get far. A group of four teenagers from La Verne—Brandt Kicklighter, Nick Henderson, Jacob Morales and Cade Terry—saw Mr. Sanchez running away and sprung into action. Brandt, 16, ran towards the suspect, and his friends followed.

“I saw the woman chasing the guy who had her purse. He ran toward me but got around me, so I chased him down and threw him to the ground,” the teen said.

After Brandt tackled Mr. Sanchez, the contents of the woman’s purse scattered along the sidewalk. Nick, 16, grabbed a set of keys from the ground, thinking it belonged to the victim, but they actually belonged to the suspect.

“We kept them because [the purse snatcher] kept asking us for his keys, but we just gave them to the lady, who gave them to the officer,” Jacob, 16, said.

At first, the boys didn’t know if the situation was real.

“At first we didn’t know what was going on, we thought it was a joke. We thought it was a ‘What Would You Do’ situation,” Nick said, referencing the popular hidden camera show.

The purse was recovered and given back to the victim, who was uninjured, Lt. Bennett said.

“She said she was really grateful I was there,” Brandt said. “She was really grateful.”

Mr. Sanchez was taken into custody, thanks to Brandt's quick thinking. Mr. Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of grand theft of person and for having a probation violation hold, Lt. Bennett said.

“I didn’t really know what to do,” Brandt said. “I just didn’t want him to get away, so I just went and tackled him.”

 

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com