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Protect yourself from purse snatchers

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A string of attempted purse snatchings took place this week in the Lake Area, all seem to target elderly women out shopping.

Each time the women fought back and thieves got nothing.

On Wednesday one of those purse snatchings happened in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Highway 171, where an elderly woman was actually injured from trying to fight off the robber.

But there's good news tonight, that suspect, a 15-year-old girl, is in custody.

In just one day, three attempted purse snatchings in the Lake Area.

"It's not new, but it's been a long time since we've had a purse snatcher that was actively seeking out prey, and that's what I believe these individuals were doing," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office.

But on Wednesday, deputies at CPSO responded to just that, a shopping center off Highway 378 and a Wal-Mart parking lot on Highway 171.

It was after KPLC aired a photo of the suspect's vehicle, that 15-year-old minor knew she was in trouble.

"Family members saw the vehicle description and made the 15-year-old girl turn herself in," said Mancuso.

But before women in the Lake Area breathe a sigh of relief, Mancuso says, "evidence proves there's others involved, just by the video tapes at a couple of the establishments, but we're following up with that right now."

So how can you protect yourself from becoming a victim? Authorities say be aware of your surroundings, shop with a buddy in a well-lit parking lot – preferably with security. Basically, don't look like an easy target.

Also, instead of using a shoulder bag, try a cross body bag, like this, or better yet, keep your important cards and cash in your pockets.

And although most don't want to, "let them have what they want and then let us come in and investigate it. It's not worth losing your life or getting hurt over," said Mancuso.

Larry Moss with the Lake Charles Police Department added, "it's kind of a scary world out there sometimes."

LCPD are also investigating a similar incident that happened in a parking lot off 12th Street and Common. But it's something people of all ages should pay attention to.

"Male, female, young and old. Not just picking on our female citizens out there, saying that hey you need to watch what you're doing, but the guys need to as well," said Moss.

Kim Myers, spokeswoman for the CPSO's says the minor who turned herself in, was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center and charged with three counts of attempted purse snatching, cruelty to the infirmed and simple battery.

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