Three Winter Haven men charged in snatching elderly woman’s purs - WFLA News Channel 8

Three Winter Haven men charged in snatching elderly woman’s purse

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Darrel Bandy and Christopher Rashaad Lewis are charged with robbery and petty theft, Willie Turner is charged with hindering a law enforcement officer. Darrel Bandy and Christopher Rashaad Lewis are charged with robbery and petty theft, Willie Turner is charged with hindering a law enforcement officer.
Patricia Hunt, 75 year-old Winter Haven purse snatching victim. Patricia Hunt, 75 year-old Winter Haven purse snatching victim.

Strangers helped a 75 year-old woman get her purse back after thieves targeted her at a Winter Haven grocery store.

Patricia Hunte says it happened around 12:30 p.m., in broad daylight, on Christmas Eve. She had just been inside the Winn Dixie on Recker Hwy. buying Christmas cakes for a disabled friend when Hunte wheeled her cart up to her car. She opened the door to start loading in the groceries while her purse was still in the cart. Her friend was in the passenger seat.
 
"She screamed ... he's got your purse," Hunte recalled. "My friend Sandy got out of the car, started chasing after him and telling everybody 'stop him! Stop him!' and yelling."
 
Winter Haven Police would later identify the men involved as Darrel Bandy, 21 of 15th St., NW, and Christopher Rashaad Lewis, 23 of 2222 Lucerne Park Rd. Investigators said a bystander witnessed the crime and immediately stepped in, detaining Lewis until officers arrived. A K-9 officer tracked Bandy to a nearby apartment complex.
 
Hunte says her friend Sandy and several others help lead to the arrest.
 
"There were several people in the parking lot - it was amazing - all these people ran after this person all through the parking lot, across the street into a parking lot in a different shopping area," she said. "You got that feeling they just did it because they knew that was wrong and they wanted to make it right."
 
Officers said they also arrested Willie Andrew Turner, 24 of 228 Lincoln Ct. in Auburndale, for his involvement in the crime. Another witness in the parking area told officers Turner is Bandy's brother and that Bandy had been riding in Turner's car. Turner refused to answer officers' questions, according to police.
 
Police arrested all three men and took them to the Polk County Jail. Bandy is facing charges of Robbery by Sudden Snatching without a Firearm, Petit Theft and Resisting Officer without Violence. Lewis is facing charges of Robbery by Sudden Snatching without a Firearm and Petit Theft. Turner will face a charge of Influence/Intimidate/Hinder Law Enforcement Officer Duties.
Hunte points out, in the end, it was a crime that wouldn't have paid much anyway.
 
"All I had in my purse was $3," she said. "I just couldn't believe someone could be that desperate on Christmas Eve."
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