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Bystanders catch violent purse snatcher
Markel Johnson
Markel Johnson

A purse thief who punched a woman to get her handbag was apprehended by a group of citizens who witnessed the attack and gave chase after him.

The suspect, identified as Markel Johnson, 18, was arrested on suspicion of robbery, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman.

The victim, a 26-year-old woman, did not require medical attention from the attack, Holeman said.

The robbery occurred around 1 p.m. Sunday outside the Old Navy store at 2831 Countryside Dr.

The victim had just left the store when Johnson allegedly ran up to her and punched her at least once, Holeman said. He then ripped the purse off her shoulder and took off running.

A couple of citizens saw the attack and gave chase after the fleeing suspect. They were able to catch Johnson and they held him on the ground until police officers arrived and took him into custody.

“This particular call was a perfect example of our community looking after one another,” said Turlock Police Sgt. Steve Rodrigues on the department’s web activity log. “These citizens’ quick actions lead to the arrest of a subject for robbery and the recovery of the victim's property.”