Crimetracker: Senior swats away would-be purse snatcher in grocery aisle

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CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was supposed to be a quick trip to Kroger:

"I went there because I had a cold and I wanted to buy some cold medicine and Lysol," said Rose Cox.

That's when a simple shopping trip took a nasty turn.

"I'm pushing the cart, looking for the Lysol. And I stopped - I saw the Lysol down there. I had my purse right here on the top of the cart. Two or three seconds at the very most went by. I bent down, picked up the can of Lysol - it was at the very bottom shelf. I picked it up, I turned around and the guy was - here's my purse and his hand was right here, like an inch from the inside of my purse. And I got so furious, I took the newspaper and I said 'You're not taking my purse you thief!" said Cox, who began swatting the would-be purse snatcher with her paper.

The man ran off.

"And I started screaming 'That's the guy, that's the guy! That's him, that's him!" she said.

They got a good description, plus his license plate number. Turns out, the suspect is no stranger to cops.

"I can safely say that this same individual, if that's who it is - we haven't interviewed him, haven't charged anybody yet. But this suspect has been a suspect has been a suspect at least a dozen other times in similar cases," said Major Mark Rosser, with the Crossville Police Department.

Cops said there are a few simple things people can do to protect themselves from purse snatchers.

"I would definitely not leave my purse in my buggy or my wallet in my buggy unattended. You need to have it strapped around your shoulder or in your hand or keep your buggy in front of you at all times," said Rosser.

Cox bought a new, over-the-shoulder purse and said from now on,

"I'm gonna be a Good Samaritan and start warning everybody I see not to leave their purse vulnerable anymore."

She'll also keep a newspaper handy when she's shopping, just in case.

Police said the next step will be talking to the suspect. Then they'll ask Cox to pick him out of a lineup.

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