Purse snatcher with child targets 89-year-old



Posted on July 18, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 9 at 2:32 PM

Portsmouth purse snatching

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PORTSMOUTH – "I was trying to hang on to her, and this other lady was trying. We couldn't. She was terrible," recalled 89-year-old Darlene Allensworth.

Late in the morning June 16, Allensworth was looking at pots and pans at Walmart on Frederick Boulevard in Midtown.

Allensworth, who had her purse over her shoulder, told 13News someone smacked her arm away from her shopping cart and grabbed the handbag, adding that the thief wasn't alone.

"She left her little boy standing there with me. I would say he was between 5 and 6," said Allensworth. "I just can't imagine a mother going out to steal something, and her little boy standing there, and he was left standing right beside me."

Once Allensworth started yelling, she said a number of people started coming to help her. They blocked some aisles. The person who took her purse tossed it on the floor, and, then, grabbed the child by the hand. Both were able to get out of the store.

Portsmouth police released surveillance images of the person believed to have taken the purse.

"I feel people are targeting the older people, because they know we can't defend ourselves but a certain amount," offered Allensworth.

Less than two weeks after the purse grabbing, someone carjacked an 81-year-old in the parking lot of the same Walmart. A day later, somebody saw the stolen SUV and called police. Officers arrested Rodney Scott for the crime.

"The experience was terrible. It scared me to death," Allensworth said. "I'm 89 years old, and I just do not, am not capable of somebody doing that to me and trying to defend myself,and I think it's just absolutely terrible."

If anyone has information that might help police, call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.