Elderly Ohio woman tries to rundown purse snatcher

Published 8:15 pm Friday, February 27, 2015

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP, Ohio— To call it “a run for her money” would be an understatement.

An elderly woman barely avoided being run over when she confronted a woman she said had just snatched her purse outside of a grocery store, according to reports.

Ashtabula County Sheriff’s officers were called at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday to the parking lot of an area Giant Eagle grocery store, where they found an upset Shirley Dyer, 77, of Ashtabula, Ohio.

Dyer said she was just about to load her groceries into her vehicle when a woman pulled up in a car, parking in the next row. Dyer didn’t pay much attention, she said, because it’s a busy shopping center.

“She got out of the car and I noticed she was walking real fast,” Dyer said. “She said, ‘Excuse me,’ and grabbed my purse from me.”

The woman quickly ran back to her car, but Dyer said she followed her.

“I tried to grab her throat (when she sat down in the seat),” she said. “I think she was shocked to see this gray-haired lady coming after her.”

The alleged perpetrator put the car in reverse and stepped on the gas, throwing Dyer to ground.

“I saw those tires and I thought, ‘Oh no, this is the end,’” she said. “I put my arm over my head and rolled. The car ran over the ends of my boots, my toes. I was screaming and yelling for someone to stop her.”

A witness said the suspect hit a snow bank near the grocery store on the way out of the parking lot.

“I was screaming like a girl,” Dyer said. “I lost everything — my money, glasses, bank cards. My kids said, ‘Why are you carrying all that stuff in your purse?’ I said, ‘I have been carrying a purse for 70 years.’”

Someone called 911 and a Sheriff’s deputy soon arrived on the scene. Police are reviewing surveillance videos for clues to help identify the suspect.

Dyer said Friday that she’s OK, including her toes.

“It could have been a lot worse,” she said. “The sheriff came by today to see how I was doing. He said I was ‘spunky.’ I guess I am.”

Terry writes for the Ashtabula (Ohio) Star Beacon.