Casselberry police search for man after attempted carjacking at grocery store

Thief attempts to steal woman's purse, then car

CASSELBERRY, Fla. – Police are searching for a man who, they say, attacked a woman in the parking lot of a Publix on Wednesday evening.

It happened at the Publix on State Route 436 in Seminole County.

According to Casselberry police, a man in his mid-40s wearing a Virginia Tech camouflage hat tried to steal a woman's purse and then her car when the woman was returning her shopping cart.

"At first, I was trying to figure out what was even going on," said one witness, who did not want to be named. "Was it some kind of game going on with someone running around a car? You wouldn't think a purse snatcher is just running in circles around a car. It was very strange, but the tone in the lady's voice, screaming, is what clued me in fairly quickly that this is not just some guy teasing some girl. This was really a big deal."

That witness, along with another man, ended up chasing the suspect, who eventually tried to run away with the woman's purse.

"My son sprung into action immediately," said Tricia Mattingly, the mother of the other witness. "Once he called me on the phone and he told me he chased that person down, I was very proud and I hope they catch him."

Because of what happened, Mattingly will be keeping a close eye on her surroundings the next time she goes grocery shopping.

The suspect, who is still on the loose, is described as being between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, in his mid-40s with a thin build, and salt-and-pepper hair.

Anyone who recognizes the man in the sketch is asked to call Casselberry police or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).

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