Alleged Purse Snatcher Foiled By Tyler Resident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/16/08-Tyler

Alleged Purse Snatcher Foiled By Tyler Resident

She doesn't speak much English, but in Spanish, Rosi Molina told us her alarming story.  She was at home when a man came knocking on her door, Sunday morning. 

"I came to see who it was," said Molina.  "I looked through the door, and I saw a man, seated."  Molina said she was frightened because the man didn't have a shirt on and had a 'scared' look in his eyes.  Molina said that's when she went to grab the phone, but when she came back, she saw the man crouched down behind her outdoor furniture, so as not to be seen from the door.   That's when she called police. 

The man was Juan Ballesteros.  Just moments before showing up on the Molina's front porch, police said Ballesteros snatched the purse from a 70-year-old woman at the Fina Food Fast station on the Loop in Tyler, but it wasn't until later at another station, the Exxon on Old Jacksonville, police would catch up with the suspect.

A clerk tells KLTV 7 the suspect went inside of the building, went to the restroom, and when he came back to the door, police were waiting outside.  He then took off behind the gas station into the neighborhood nearby.

"He had taken off his shirt and hat to disguise himself, changing his clothing and appearance," said Tyler Police Sergeant Bill Goecking.  "The information that came from another alert citizen at Goliad helped us locate the guy pretty quick."

It was a quick arrest after the latest in a possible string of robberies stretching all the way from the Gulf to right here in East Texas. 

"He had other people's information," said Goecking.  "We can't go into specifics about it, but there's names and addresses from cities that are between Houston and Tyler."

Police also said the car Ballesteros was driving was stolen.  The woman he robbed Sunday morning was treated at a local hospital and later released. 

Layron Livingston, Reporting.  llivingston@kltv.com

 

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