Police: Woman, Good Samaritans Chase, Capture Purse Thief

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NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) – Police say some good citizens in New Kensington stopped a home burglar from getting away.

New Kensington Police said a woman was inside of her home when she saw the burglar come inside and steal her purse. According to police, she chased him around the neighborhood in her bare feet until some good citizens came to the rescue and stopped him.

The technicians at ALL-Timate Auto Care were hard at work in their shop on Thursday.

“Typical day, nothing exciting,” said Gary Sawyers, a technician at ALL-Timate Auto Care.

Suddenly, they heard lots of commotion outside of their garage.

“There was a lot going on, because there was a truck out here blowing its horn, guys screaming and customers screaming at the guy trying to get him to stop,” said Sawyers.

That’s when they saw a man carrying a purse jump over their fence.

“There were probably about six or seven of us. Our customers helped out a lot. They were screaming at him,” said Adam Hutter, a technician at ALL-Timate Auto Care.

After the technicians came out of the garage, they said they surrounded the guy, backing him up against a wall. They said he dropped the purse and they formed a semi-circle around him, holding him there until police arrived and arrested him.

“The lady who this had happened to was in the alley. She had run out in her bare feet. She was pretty upset about it,” said Debbie Fenchalk, the service manager of ALL-Timate Auto Care.

According to police, the woman lives in on Fifth Avenue and she chased the burglar around the playground at Fort Crawford School all the way to ALL-Timate Auto Care on Industrial Boulevard.

“She just said that he just ran in and grabbed it, and I guess her cats got out. She was very upset about that. Then, she ran up here in her bare feet and hurt her foot,” said Fenchalk.

Police said the suspect is 27-year-old Luis Lema. He is charged with burglary and theft and is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bond.

luis lema Police: Woman, Good Samaritans Chase, Capture Purse Thief

(Photo Credit: Westmoreland County Prison)

“It’s nice to stop stuff like that because it doesn’t need to happen. There’s no reason to rob people. That side of it felt good. Otherwise, it was just something odd that happened during the day,” said Sawyers.

The woman thanked everybody there and went home with her purse. Lema is scheduled to go to court on Oct. 5 for his preliminary hearing.

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