Deputies say an accused purse snatcher was arrested Wednesday evening thanks to local citizens who held the man down until police arrived.
Curtis Wilson with the Richland County Sheriff's Department says 31-year-old Juan Ashley dragged the victim to the ground when he attempted to steal her purse Wednesday night at the Kroger on Two Notch Road around 6:30 p.m.
Scott Ellsworth and his brother in law were leaving the grocery story when they heard a loud noise about 25 feet away.
"I hear an old lady screaming, and I go around my car to see what's going on. And I see him tackling her, her head hits the ground, and he runs off with her purse," said Ellsworth.
The 22-year-old construction worker knew what he had to do. The robber dropped the purse, but Ellsworth kept after him.
"Just to see him do that I to that old lady, I couldn't believe it. I'm a sensitive person," said Ellsworth.
Ellsworth and several other residents in the area tackled Ashley and held him until deputies arrived. Wilson says Ashley threw the purse to a second suspect who took off.
Wilson says the purse was found at a nearby restaurant, but the cash and credit cards were missing. They are still looking to identify the second suspect.
Ashley is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. He is charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon.