Police search for purse snatching repeat offender

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston police conducted a search for a purse snatcher who has struck twice since Sunday in southwest Houston.

Griselda Hamby, 63, is a great grandmother, who was loading groceries in her car outside a grocery store on Briar Forest near Dairy-Ashford Monday, when the man grabbed her purse.

It contained four one-thousand dollar checks for local charities that she was delivering for her church, St. John Vianney Catholic Church. Hamby didn't make it easy for the thief, though. She said she went after him.

"I was upset," said Hamby. "I said, 'Hasn't this young man learned his manners?' I said, 'Wait a minute, he's not taking my bag, I've got the church checks in there.' And then I just took off."

She followed the suspect to his car and got into a tug-of-war with him over the purse. She held on for as long as she could as he drove away, and finally let go as he accelerated, bruising her arm.

"I went a few steps with him as he was leaving," Hamby said. "I pulled up, and as I [did...], I bruised my left arm."

Hamby said the man drove off in a dark colored BMW with paper license plates. It matched the description of a car used in another purse theft Sunday at a drug store in the 11500 block of Westheimer, not far from the grocery store.

Police obtained security video from the grocery where Hamby's purse was taken, but have not made an arrest. However, police said the thief won't be able to cash the church checks because they were canceled shortly after the they were stolen.

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