Santa Barbara- S County

Three Teens Arrested for Suspected Purse Snatching

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Three teenagers are in trouble, after Santa Maria Police say they are responsible for a string of purse thefts in the area.

"I've been parking here for 14 years. Nothing like this incident has ever happened like that," says Santa Maria shopper, Barbara Milburn.

Milburn is now holding onto her purse a little tighter after hearing about the recent purse snatches happening at the Town Center Mall parking lot.
"Just the thought of that is just kind of scary," reacts Milburn.

The first theft happened Monday afternoon in the parking structure and then again in the middle of the day on Tuesday. Each time, the suspects targeted 40 to 50 year old women, who were walking alone.

"One or two of the individuals would be out of the car and they had a getaway driver," says Sergeant Chris Nartatez, Santa Maria Police Department.

The most recent purse snatching happened Thursday morning, across the street from the mall, at the Town Center West parking lot.

"We had very good witnesses, gave us a vehicle description, license plate, which was matching the one from Tuesday," explains Nartatez.

The good description helped police arrest their suspects, two 17 year olds and a 14 year old, who were spotted a few miles away on the 100 block of South Railroad.

While the young suspects could now be finally paying the price, shoppers like Barbara Milburn are playing it safe.

"Now that I know this, I have to put my purse under my arm and look around," says Milburn.

Police say none of the victims were injured and officers are working to recover the stolen purses and return them to their owners.

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