Quick thinking and good police work led to the apprehension Wednesday night of a suspected purse snatcher who had posed as a good Samaritan in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store in Soldotna.
According to a police report, a male juvenile had offered to help a 77-year-old Sterling woman who was walking to her car with her walker and a load of groceries at about 8:15 p.m.
The lad asked if the woman needed assistance putting the groceries in her car.
She accepted the offer, handed the sacks and her purse to the youth and he took off on foot, purse in hand.
The woman was not injured.
Soldotna police officer Stace Escott responded, got a description of the thief and found tracks in the snow near the new car wash behind Schuck's Auto Parts store.
Central Emergency Services sent a fire-department lighting truck to assist police search the area, and some items belonging to the victim were found. Police also found the woman's purse, which had been tossed on top of a nearby building.
Escott then contacted a local cab company, telling them what the suspect looked like and learned a person matching the description had in fact been picked up by one of their taxis.
Further investigation led to a four-plex on South Kobuk Street, where a 15-year-old Seward male was contacted.
He reportedly admitted to the purse snatching and was taken to the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility charged with second-degree robbery, third-degree theft and sixth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.
"This was just an example of good police work," said Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking Jr. on Thursday.
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