Public angered by video of 81-year-old grandmother being attacked by purse snatcher

HOUSTON – The release of surveillance video showing an 81-year-old grandmother being attacked on the street by a purse snatcher has brought such an angry public response that Houston Police Department suggested the suspect would be safer in jail than to remain on the street.

The robbery happened Nov. 25, 2019 in the 500 block of Erin in north Houston.

Christine Henry said she was walking to a north side METRORail station for a trip to the mall. However, she didn’t make it.

The surveillance video, recorded by a camera at a nearby home, shows she was being stalked by a man in a Cadillac Escalade. The robber jumped from the SUV, ran up to Henry, grabbed her purse and threw her on the ground in the process.

Henry said she never saw it coming.

“It was real quick, just like lightning,” she said. “If that purse wouldn’t have been on my shoulder, I would have let him have it.”

Henry said she lost all my medicine, insurance card, bank card, food stamps, I.D. and social security in the robbery.

“He needs to be in jail,” she said.

After HPD posted the video on its Twitter feed Wednesday, the post quickly went viral with over a hundred retweets and a long list of angry comments and even threats.

“A lot of people are really upset,” robbery detective Jeff Briden said. “There are a lot of people threatening to do harm against this person and it’s probably better that he just turn himself in before somebody gets a hold of him. Because you just don’t do that.”

Herny said she’d take the robber’s punishment one step further than jail if it was up to her.

“The people need to be punished hard. They getting by too easy. They need they behinds whipped,” she said.

For now, that suspect remains at large.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Houston Crime Stoppers to help identify the suspect involved.