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Police seek public’s help in finding gas station purse snatcher

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Posted at 9:34 PM, Nov 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-10 23:34:14-05

MILLCREEK, Utah -- A surveillance camera in Millcreek, caught a brazen theft at a gas station Tuesday morning.

The video showed a suspect pull up next to a woman pumping gas at Smith’s gas station, 4500 S. 900 East. The suspect waited for her to walk away, then snatched her purse off the passenger seat.

“I wondered why he was parked that way and tried to keep an eye on him,” said Beth Young, the woman whose purse was stolen.

Video surveillance showed a white SUV pull up along Young’s passenger side door.

In this story

  • Do you have a tip?
  • Call Unified Police at 801-743-7000.

“I’ve always kept an eye on my purse by looking through over to my passenger window,” she said.

The video showed a man get out of the SUV and walk to the pay window.

A few seconds later, Young also went to the window to buy a bottle of water.  As soon as she approached, the video shows, the suspect quickly walk back to her car, open the passenger door, steal her purse and drive away.

“I literally took my eye off the ball for a split second,” Young said.

Unified police say there is another recent case that is similar in Millcreek.

“A lot of people, at certain gas stations leave their vehicles unattended for a short period of time,” said Unified police Det. Ken Hansen. “If you’re going to leave your vehicle, of course you are supposed to stay with your vehicle when you are fueling it, when you’re through fueling it and you’re going to go into the store, lock the vehicle.”

Watching surveillance video of Young being robbed, Hansen noted how fast it happens.

“It just takes a couple of seconds to have someone get in the car and take something out,” Hansen said.

Young noticed her purse was gone the second she got back into her car.

“Right when I got in my car I went to put my debit card in my purse, which was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and it was gone so I knew immediately it was him,” Young said.

Young called 911 and tried to follow the suspect but lost him in traffic.

“I felt really afraid and violated and angry, I felt really angry,” she said.

Unified police are hoping someone will recognize the man or the SUV in the video and call with a tip leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Unified police at 801-743-7000.