Purse Thieves, Don't Mess With This Grandma

Victim chases man, hits him with car

A 65-year-old grandmother says she chased down a man who had just snatched her purse, hit him with her car and held him until police arrived.

"I was madder than hell is what I was," Val Renfro said. "I didn't think about anything else except, 'He's not going to get away with this.'"

Renfro had just finished shopping at Office Depot on Eastchase Parkway in East Fort Worth on Sunday afternoon and was getting in her car when Ricky Lee Sample stole her purse, she said.

"The next thing I know, somebody just blindsided me,” Renfro said.

She grabbed her cell phone, which she carries in her bra, and called 911 as he fled.

"Someone just grabbed my purse out of the car," she told the operator. "I’m going to chase him down."

Listen to Renfro's 911 call and those of other passersby.

Renfro said she got in her car and screeched out of the parking lot. She spotted the man in front of a nearby movie theater.

Her confrontation with the man was recorded in her 911 call.

"Where’s my purse?" she yelled. "You give it to me now. I got the police on the phone right now. You give me my purse."

Sample tried to walk away, she said.

"And I thought, 'I'm going to lose this man, and the police aren't here,'" Renfro said. "So he got right in front of my right fender, and I just pushed on the gas."

She said he flipped up in the air.

"I hit him," she told the 911 operator.

Sample kept running, she said.

Like a scene out of a movie, customers leaving the theater joined in the chase.

"Now there’s others chasing him," Renfro told the 911 operator.

Jason Hughes, who was at the movie theater, said it was "pretty crazy."

"When somebody says she just got robbed, and you see a guy running at you with a purse, it's kind of like the first reaction," he said.

Several other people also joined in and corralled the man.

"They’ve got him,” an excited Renfro told the operator.

Police arrived minutes later and arrested Sample in connection with the theft.

Sample, 47, has previously been convicted of thefts, burglaries and drug possession.

"I'm lucky," Renfro said. "I'm very, very lucky that no one was hurt and that I got my purse back."

Later, when she saw the man again outside the police station on his way to jail, he apologized, Renfro said.

"Apology accepted," she replied. "God bless you."

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