• Women targeted in Jacksonville Walmart purse-snatchings

    By: Danielle Avitable , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Women in Jacksonville are being targeted in parking lots as they unload groceries.

    Two women told Action News Jax on Monday that a car pulled up right beside them and the driver tried to snatch their purse at a Walmart parking lot near the Avenues Mall. 

    “I grabbed my purse, put it on my shoulder and grabbed her purse and was holding it in my hand,” Denise Wilson said. 

    Wilson said she did it to make sure no one was able to swipe their purses as she and her friend, Cathy Elliott, were loading grocery bags. But, she said, someone still managed to try.

    “A car came over, almost hit me, grabbed my purse, I screamed and clutched back and pulled back,” Wilson said. 

    The car was about 4 inches from her when she said the driver reached out the window and grabbed at her purse.

    “In that moment I was mad, just obviously you are concerned. You could be hurt, but I was just mad that someone was grabbing at me,” Wilson said. 

    She said the car was a red, four-door sedan and the driver was a man with long, curly, reddish-brown hair and in his 20s.

    Wilson was able to fight back before anything was stolen. 

    “She screamed, then I screamed and they took off so it was really so fast you couldn’t begin to plan it out if you wanted to,” Elliott said. 

    The women called police and the responding officer told them they got a call 20 minutes after their call that a woman's purse was stolen from the Walmart at Beach and Hodges boulevards.

    “They feel that they started here and just took off 295 and went over there and got that purse,” Elliott said. 

    The women said that they believe it was a crime of opportunity.

    “We are usually pretty vigilant with knowing what’s going on around us. We missed that one. We won’t miss it again,” Elliott said. 

    Walmart said the stores have security inside and it’s the retailer's mission to keep everyone safe.

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