Man Thwarts Would-Be Purse Snatcher

By Susy Solis
|  Monday, Nov 22, 2010  |  Updated 9:07 PM CDT
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A <a title=North Texas woman has a watchful shopper to thank for keeping a thief from swiping her purse from her shopping cart outside a grocery store." />

Susy Solis, NBCDFW.com

A North Texas woman has a watchful shopper to thank for keeping a thief from swiping her purse from her shopping cart outside a grocery store.

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Police say it's a common crime, especially around the holidays: purse snatching.

Brennen Sheets, 15, just gotten his driving permit, so his father, Brian, let him drive them to a Tom Thumb grocery store near their Mansfield home.

They never expected to see a crime taking place right before their eyes.

Jackie Holland was unloading groceries into her vehicle but looked away for a split second, when a thief -- who police presume had been watching her -- quietly swiped her purse that was sitting in the front part of the grocery cart.

"At first I thought maybe that was her son or somebody that was with her but he took off up the parking lot in a sprint," said Brian Sheets.

Holland hadn't even noticed her purse was gone.

"I said this is not right so I jumped out of the car and took off running after him," Brian Sheets said.

His son followed his father to the thief's vehicle, a late model silver Cadillac Catera, with faded paint and a faded paper license plate.

"I wasn't really scared. I was kind of nervous. I thought he was going to get shot because this guy was creepy looking," said Brennen Sheets."I sped around to get to him. I don't know what I was going to do but I just wanted to be there in case something did happen."

The elder sheets yelled at the thief to give the purse back. The thief was about to take off.

"He was going to get away. I wasn't going to jump in the car with him but I knew he was going to get away. I thought the only thing I could do would be to try to break the window so I could get her purse back. I just intinctively hit it." Brian Sheets said.

The window shattered and Brian Sheets reached in and recovered Mrs. Holland's stolen purse.

Another shopper who had witnessed the commotion had already dialed 911.

The would-be purse snatcher got away empty-handed.

"I just felt like it was my mom or my wife or somebody that I knew, I want them to be, you know, somebody to step up and try to help," Brian Sheets said.

Holland thanked the Sheets family with a thank you card and gift card to Thom Thumb.

"We'd never laid eyes on each other before so it's that kind of kindness that makes Texans what they are, I guess," said Holland, who is from Washigton D.C.

Police say this story had a happy ending, but recommend leaving chasing criminals to the professionals because suspects may be armed and dangerous.

The purse snatcher is still at large.

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