Federal Way Police seek help identifying purse-snatching suspects targeting elderly women

Police are warning the public to be aware of their surroundings after multiple purse-snatching incidents were reported in Federal Way.

According to the Federal Way Police Department (FWPD), detectives are searching for two suspects who stole purses from elderly women in the Fred Meyer and Winco parking lots Thursday morning.

Federal Way Police Department

At around 9:56 a.m., officers responded to a purse snatching at the Fred Meyer in the 22600 block of 21st Ave. SW. 

Officers arrived and found the 76-year-old victim who said she was loading groceries into her car when a thin Black woman – possibly in her teens wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt – approached her and began tugging at her purse. 

The victim tried to fight back, but the suspect knocked her to the ground and took off with her purse. 

She told officers that the suspect hopped into a getaway car described as a small blue sedan, which was driven by a Black man – also believed to be in his late teens. 

The victim was injured and had to be treated after the assault.

At 11:20 a.m., police responded to another similar incident at Winco Foods in the 100 block of SW Campus Dr.

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This time, officers contacted an 86-year-old victim, who said she had just parked her car and was walking toward the store when a blue sedan approached her from behind.

She told police that a female suspect with the same description as the first incident got out of the back of the car and quickly tore the purse off of her shoulder – hard enough to break the strap.

FWPD officers found the blue sedan moments later, but the suspects drove away evading capture. Officers were able to document their Washington license plate: BCCO447.

The FWPD is urging the public to be aware of their surroundings when going out in the community. To avoid getting a purse snatched, police advise potential victims to clutch the purse and hold it similar to a way a football player would hold a football. They also say to hold the purse away from the curb or driveway to avoid drive-by snatch and grabs.

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The key piece of advice is when someone gets away with your purse, give it up, yell for help and run to safety. The FWPD says it is not worth risking injury or even your life fighting for your purse.

The FWPD's Criminal Investigations Section is working with neighboring law enforcement agencies who have had similar incidents.

Anyone who recognizes the suspects pictured in the surveillance video is asked to contact the FWPD at 253-835-2121.

This is a developing story.