Police say they have tracked down and arrested a woman believed to have been snatching purses around Brandon for the last few weeks.
A total of six incidents were reported, dating back to Nov. 29. Police say that most of the thefts or attempted thefts occurred in local business parking lots, while the victims were busy loading groceries or other purchased into their vehicles.
The suspect is alleged to have distracted her victims by asking for directions before snatching the unguarded purses and making off in her car. On one occasion, police say, she asked for directions from inside her own car, and attempted to grab the purse through the window, but was unsuccessful. On another occasion, she's alleged to have pushed the victim during the theft.
Another incident blamed on the same suspect involved her going to a home on Ninth Street and pretending that her vehicle had broken down. The victim ended up giving the suspect a ride, ahd had her purse stolen as the suspect got out.
Police say that witnesses to the thefts were eventually able to identify the suspect, and they arrested her after searching her home with a warrant early Tuesday morning.
A 51-year-old Brandon woman appeared in court later Tuesday, charged with three counts of theft under $5,000, two counts of attempted theft under $5,000, robbery with violence and two counts of breach of recognizance.