More Fresno purse snatching victims come forward
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More victims are coming forward after seeing video of a brazen purse snatcher on Action News. Surveillance video from P.F. Chang's shows a suspect walk into the restaurant on March 11 with a coat over his arm and a cell phone to his ear. He then grabs a purse from the hostess stand while no one is looking.
Action News first aired the video Tuesday night. Since then, four more people told us about incidents with a similar suspect description. The first two cases were reported at Cool Hand Luke's in Clovis and the Cheesecake Factory on March 7. Then, on March 8, a wallet was stolen at Kaplan College in Clovis. On March 11, the purse was stolen from P.F. Chang's, and another was stolen from a Clovis Applebee's on March 15. Though it's unknown if all of them are connected, all of the victims described a confident, well dressed man who blended into his surroundings. All of the incidents were also captured on security cameras.
A former employee at Kaplan said she was stunned by the suspect's brazen acts when she first saw him on the school's surveillance cameras, walking away with her wallet. She said he walked through the building for more than 15 minutes, acting like he had every right to be there. "When I was walking back to my cubicle, one of my co-workers asked if he was my student. I said 'no', and they said, 'he just left your cubicle'. I ran in there and saw my purse wide open," said the victim, who didn't want to be identified.
The next week, waitress Ashley Perkins had her purse stolen from the Clovis Applebee's, located in the same shopping center as Kaplan College. Perkins said the suspect walked in through the front doors, left, and then moved his car to the side "to go" entrance. Perkins said surveillance video shows him leaving with her purse and later shows him returning to the restaurant. "He actually took my purse in and then brought it back out. He didn't take the whole thing. He took time to take what he needed," said Perkins.
The news of more victims came as a surprise to Courtney McLemore, the waitress at P.F. Chang's. She first called Action News Tuesday, frustrated by the Fresno Police Department's handling of her case. McLemore said police finally contacted P.F. Chang's management about the surveillance video Wednesday, after the story aired. She is still hopeful for a positive outcome. "Even if we don't catch him, which I hope I do, but even if I don't, the fact more women are aware now, is plenty for me," said McLemore.
Fresno and Clovis police are investigating all of the incidents. At this point, they haven't established that any are connected.
fresno, fresno county, theft, crimetracker, fresno police department, local, amanda perez
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