Columbus locals on excessive alert after string of purse snatchings

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COLUMBUS, miss. (WCBI) – Four wallets were robbed in the city of Columbus last week.

“I’ll probably just wait to go into town if I need groceries or whatever. I’m just going to wait for my boyfriend to come with me because I’m not going to risk anything, you know, ”said Addie Powell, a Columbus resident.

Addie Powell is just one of many Columbus women who will take more precautions when going out in public.

After having four purses in malls and businesses, many are trying to prepare.

“If you have an instinct that you are not feeling good about something, act on your instinct,” said Muffie Ellis of Columbus.

Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said the best thing to do when someone tries to take your purse is to be loud and get attention.

“In the Wal-Mart incident, the lady started yelling and yelling, which means the person didn’t actually get their purse because it put them off. With the roar and the noise and the commotion, ”said Chief Shelton.

Wearing the bag strap across your chest is a great way to avoid insert pockets. However, Chief Shelton said it can do more harm than good when it comes to snatching wallets.

“If they hold that strap, they’ll pull you down with your purse. And again, what enables you to potentially get you into a position where you may get hurt. One of the things, when I’m really tight, he won’t get my purse. On the other hand, you could get injured in the process, ”said Chief Shelton.

While the perpetrator of one of the incidents was arrested, the other three incidents are still being investigated.

Although the police believe they are on the verge of arresting another perpetrator, it is still important to be prepared.

“I’ll probably start closing my purse, to be honest, so nothing can fall out or my wallet is not so easily accessible. But I’ll probably just be more of my surroundings and probably look a little meaner when I go to the store, ”Powell said.

Shelton added that you should carry pepper spray or some other form of self-defense with you instead of in your pocket so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.