A 10-year-old girl fought off a thief who tried to take off with her mother's wallet — then snapped a cellphone picture of the man's license plate for police before he fled in a minivan from the Santa Ana 7-Eleven.
The girl named Genesis was in the back seat of a car with her sister Monday morning while their mother was inside the convenience store getting cash from the ATM. The man was also inside - police said he was stealing batteries and candy.
"I told my sister that he seemed pretty shady," Genesis said.
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When the man came out of the store, he noticed a wallet in the front seat of the car. Then opened the door and took it.
"He just grabs it, so I started panicking and I walked out the car," she said. "He was really close to closing (his car) door but I yanked it back open."
The 80-pound girl struggled with the man's door, pulling on the handle and yelling at him.
"Then he gave up and gave me the wallet," she said.
The thief took off in the silver minivan, but not before the quick-thinking girl took out her cellphone and snapped a picture of the rear of the vehicle, capturing the license plate number.
"She's so brave - I'm so scared when I think about that," said the girl's mother, Grace Ramos. "Anything could happen, but thank God everything came out good."
Police are still looking for the man, who was captured on surveillance video in a blue denim shirt. Thanks to the photo the girl took, they're closer to finding him. They say he's a store regular.
While police and the mother are grateful for what Genesis did, she knows she's lucky she's safe.
"I was brave but (mom) said next time to not do that, to let him go because my life is worth more than her wallet," Genesis said.