A man who allegedly snatched a senior’s purse outside a Hemet store today was followed by witnesses, who led police to where the suspect fled.
Michael Lewis Smith, 20, was arrested on suspicion of robbery after allegedly forcibly taking a woman’s handbag in front of a Walgreens pharmacy at 1311 E. Florida Ave.
According to Hemet police Sgt. Bob Nishida, around 10:40 a.m., the victim, whose name was not released, was walking to her vehicle after shopping and was allegedly grabbed from behind by Smith, who tore away her purse.
“The … elderly female nearly fell to the ground as Smith robbed her of her purse,” Nishida said. “Smith ran southbound towards San Jacinto Street and El Nita Street. A witness saw the robbery and chased after Smith.”
A second witness observed the chase and continued to track the suspect after the first witness lost him, according to Nishida.
Nishida said the good Samaritan, whose name was not released, drove furtively behind Smith and called Hemet police, giving them updates on the man’s location.
A motorcycle officer used the information to locate the suspect near a church on Girard Street, south of Acacia Avenue, where he was arrested without incident.
The victim’s purse and other evidence were also found with the help of the witness.
Smith was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, where he’s being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.