Woman, 91, wins bat­tle in purse snatch­ing

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Local - By Wayne K. Rous­tan South Florida Sun Sen­tinel wkrous­tan@sunsen­tinel.com or 954-356-4303 or Twit­ter @WayneRous­tan

Mary Kennedy had plans to watch the Mi­ami Dol­phins game but the 91-year-old fan found her­self try­ing to tackle a purse snatch­ing sus­pect in­stead.

Gil­berto Gar­cia, 35, of West Palm Beach, had ap­proached her about 9 a.m. Sun­day as she got into her car out­side the Wal­mart at 4375 Belvedere Road and he told her there was a nail in her tire, the Palm Beach County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice said.

When Kennedy got out to look, Gar­cia grabbed her purse from the front seat of her car and got into his red Ford Ex­plorer, an ar­rest re­port said.

Kennedy told WPTV-Ch.5 she went over and tried to get her purse back but Gar­cia pushed her to the park­ing lot pave­ment in­jur­ing her head, left arm and hip.

“He body-slammed me down to the con­crete,” she told the sta­tion. “That was it. That was all I knew. I couldn’t get up.”

Gar­cia drove away, but two wit­nesses took pic­tures of his li­cense plate and Wal­mart se­cu­rity cam­eras also recorded the in­ci­dent.

De­tec­tives checked li­cense plate records and they showed Gar­cia was the reg­is­tered owner of the Ex­plorer. Mean­while, a deputy spot­ted the SUV about 10:30 a.m. and fol­lowed it un­til Gar­cia parked at 2000 N. Congress Ave.

Gar­cia was held un­til Kennedy was brought to the scene so she could iden­tify him as her at­tacker, the re­port stated.

Then, re­luc­tantly, she was taken to the hos­pi­tal for treat­ment of her in­juries.

“I wanted to see the Dol­phins game,” she told WPTV. “I waited all week for that.”

Dur­ing ques­tion­ing, Gar­cia ad­mit­ted to tak­ing Kennedy’s purse, steal­ing the con­tents, and throw­ing the purse in the trash at a Chevron gas sta­tion where deputies later found it. They pro­cessed it for ev­i­dence and re­turned it to Kennedy, de­tec­tives said.

Gar­cia is fac­ing rob­bery, bur­glary and ag­gra­vated bat­tery charges with bond set at $110,000, records showed.

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