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Woman Dragged Through Parking Lot Refusing to Let Snatchers Speed Away With Stolen Purse


"I'm going to be a safety vigilante now."

As the ABC News puts it, purse snatchers picked the wrong woman to steal from. Not only is she a black belt -- a skill that didn't necessarily come in handy with this theft -- but Karen Rakes was strong and not about to let go of her bag until it was absolutely necessary.

In fact, Rakes let herself be dragged more than 100 yards through a grocery store parking lot before she decided she had to let go. Rakes was loading groceries when her bag was taken from the cart. At this point she latched on and didn't let go until she realized it was "now or never" and she had to drop or be carried into traffic. Watch the ABC News report with surveillance footage of the theft and Rakes' description of the scene:

The local ABC affiliate in West Melbourne, Fla., states the incident happened this past Tuesday at a Walmart. Rakes was shopping alone and parked in an area away from other cars. Although she has some pretty extreme bruises from the incident, local police say she is lucky as her injuries could have been far worse:

"She could have rolled up under the vehicle and been run over," said West Melbourne Police spokesman Steve Wilkinson. "So she is very fortunate there."

The police located the van and its drivers who have been arrested and charged with the theft. Florida Today has more on the two women and how they were apprehended:

Police later spotted the van and stopped it, arresting [Angela Maria] Seiwert, who was inside and had a warrant for her arrest, Wilkinson said. Police seized the van.

[Michelle] Welling was arrested at West Melbourne police department early Thursday, when she arrived to get her van.

“The owner of the vehicle came today, thinking she was going to pick up the van,” Wilkinson said. “Our detectives did a good job and got her to spill the beans.”

Wilkinson said he is also interested in the way the van circled Rakes' car before taking her purse. "They looked like pros to me," he said.

This isn't the only purse snatching and dragging incident to occur this week. In a separate event in Richland County, South Carolina, a woman was dragged by a man who grabbed her purse in a parking lot as well. WFMY News 2 reports the woman held on as the man continued to run to a waiting car. Even after the thief got inside the dark green Jeep Cherokee, the woman still maintained hold and was dragged some distance by the SUV. She did sustain some injuries to her legs. The robbers eventually got away with her bag.

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