HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Police are searching for the two men in a dark colored car who ran over an elderly woman and stole her purse.
"I didn't have time to put my hands out or anything and I just went down face first," said Jackie Arnold, who had just pulled into the parking lot of the Hollywood Animal Hospital around noon Saturday to snap a quick picture of a banner hanging across the road.
Surveillance cameras from the hospital captured the suspects drive past Arnold who was leaning against the front of her vehicle. The dark colored car backed up on Hollywood blvd, against traffic, to get into the parking lot and pulled into the spot right next to Arnold's SUV.
She said the passenger got out, reached in through the drivers side of her car and grabbed her purse which was sitting on the front seat. Arnold tried to stop the crooks as they backed out and pulled away.
"And when I realized they weren't stopping I just kind of half stepped to the side and the car side swiped me and put me into a spin," she said.
Arnold lost her balance and fell to the ground face first. She suffered a fractured nose, two black eye and two chipped teeth. Within an hour the crooks used her debit card to fill their car with $62 worth of gas.
"Well that's a crime of opportunity," said Broward Sheriff's Office crime prevention expert Ira Rubenstein, who cruised a busy a shopping center with Local 10 Monday as if he were a criminal looking for rip someone off. He said crooks are looking for easy targets: the elderly, unlocked cars or open windows, valuables left in plain sight. And we found plenty of potential victims.
One woman left her purse in the front of the cart as she was loading her groceries into her car.
"She has no idea we're filming her, no idea we're watching her, now if we were to ride by right now we could grab that pocket book, she should have put the pocketbook in first," said Rubenstein.
He warned women not to carry a purse across your body because if someone drives by and grabs it, you could get dragged along the pavement. We also discovered a few cars with valuables in plain sight. One vehicle had a brand new car radio, still the box, sitting in the back seat.
"That's valuable to someone, they could get $10 for that at the flea market," Rubenstein told the driver.
Rubenstein reminds people to be aware of your surroundings, keep your valuables close or concealed and think twice before confronting the crooks.
It's a lesson Jackie Arnold, the woman run down by the purse snatchers in Hollywood on Saturday, learned the hard way. She now has to replace the stuff she lost like her drivers license and bank and credit cards but feels fortunate she didn't lose her life over $62 worth of fuel.
"Yes, a tank of gas," she said.
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