ABC7 Exclusive: Wilmette woman chases, catches Louis Vuitton purse snatcher

April 2, 2013 8:33:14 PM PDT
A North Shore woman refused to be the victim of a purse snatcher and chased the thief and got her $2,600 Louis Vuitton bag back and in an ABC-7 exclusive the woman says the pricey purse was not her motivation.

The Wilmette mother says she chased the robber because she didn't want her identity or personal information stolen and she feared her young children could be harmed if the robber knew where she lived. Her identity has been concealed for her safety.

It all began at a car wash in Evanston. She was in line enjoying the sunny weather and some fresh air with the windows down in her car.

"A man was standing on the passenger side he reached in and grabbed my purse and I started screaming," she said.

She says after he took off with her the purse, instinct kicked in and the chase began down this street. Then she says he got trapped in between this house.

"I was screaming, 'drop the purse, take the money and drop the purse.'

"He was checking inside jacket that when it occurred to me he could have a weapon," she said.

She says he took off again but she thinks her loud screams alerted two good Samaritans including a paramedic.

"They chased him to the stop sign and took him down," she said.

She says while she would recommend her action to anyone else but the purse has sentimental value it was a gift from her husband. He purchased the limited edition Louis Vuitton handbag during a trip to Paris last summer.

"I'm not here because of courage or being stupid," she said. "This story had a good ending."

Forty-four-year-old Steven Elmo Hatfield of Evanston has been charged with burglary. Hatfield was recently released on parole for retail theft.

When asked would she do this again, the woman said, "Given I got my backpack back my identity was not stolen, no one was hurt and some is held accountable, I'd say yes."

The woman said she really wanted to do the interview, to say thank you to the two strangers who helped her and express her gratitude.

She also had this message for everyone: To be more aware of your surroundings.