CASSELBERRY, Fla. – A number of law enforcement agencies are working with the Orange County Sheriff's Office Wednesday to find a thief they're calling a "serial purse snatcher" after deputies found the SUV believed to have been used in a string of recent robberies outside grocery stores, the police department said.
The latest incident took place Sunday in the parking lot of a Publix store on State Road 436 when a 55-year-old woman had her purse snatched from her grocery cart as she was moving her bags to her vehicle, according to a police report.
Casselberry police said the white newer model Ford Explorer drove by while Deborah Sibille loaded the groceries with her back turned to the cart and someone in the SUV grabbed her purse before speeding off with her keys, phone, debit and credit cards.
Sibille said she tried to go after the Explorer, but she fell and hurt her leg and ribs, according to the report. She said it happened so fast that she didn't realize what was happening until shortly after her granddaughter yelled to let her know someone was reaching for the bag, but that she was able to get a good look at the snatcher before he got away.
"She screamed," Sibille said. "So I turned around and I saw the guys."
The woman told Casselberry police that the man in the passenger seat, who she described as a young Hispanic man with short hair who was wearing a black shirt, was the one who snatched the bag. She said she believes the driver was also a young Hispanic man, but said she did not get as close of a look at him.
A witness told police he didn't see the alleged snatching and that he only saw Sibille running down the aisle after the Explorer before she was hurt.