Good Samaritan helps police find purse snatcher
June 16, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
A Preston woman said a good Samaritan helped police officers track down a man who snatched her purse in a grocery store parking lot.Dianne Harbolt was loading groceries into her car at Safeway, 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd., last week. At about 7 p.m. June 11, she said a man drove by in a Chevrolet pickup and grabbed her purse from her shopping cart. Harbolt said the truck came within a few inches of her and her 9-year-old daughter as the suspect fled.
“I could have reached out and touched the truck,” Harbolt said.
As the suspect sped away, a teenager driving a gold car pulled up and told Harbolt he would track down the purse thief.
“‘I’ll get him,’” Harbolt said he told her. “‘Stay put. I’ve got him.’”
Bystanders gathered and called police. Harbolt had no mobile phone of her own; it was in her purse.
“I think about 100 people called 911 on my behalf,” she said.
As an officer interviewed Harbolt, he received a call alerting him that another officer and the good Samaritan had located the suspect. He asked Harbolt to wait at Safeway while he headed to the scene.
Harbolt thanked other patrons for waiting with her and allowing her to use a mobile phone, so she could call her other daughter.
“This sounds corny, but it restored my faith in humanity,” Harbolt said.
Officers arrested the suspect, a 20-year-old Maple Valley man, near Third Avenue Northeast and Northeast Dogwood Street.
Police returned Harbolt’s purse and she identified the suspect. She said it looked as though the suspect hadn’t had enough time to go through her belongings.
Though Harbolt had all of her items returned to her, one key detail from the case eluded her: She wanted to know the identity of the man who helped track down her purse and the suspect.
“The world needs more people like him,” Harbolt said.
Police released his name June 15. The good Samaritan was 17-year-old Jonathan Wallis, of Issaquah.