Good Samaritans foil purse snatcher's plans inside Northland Wal - KCTV5

Good Samaritans foil purse snatcher's plans inside Northland Walmart

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John L. Richard is charged with robbery and assault. He could face more charges. (Clay County Sheriff's Office) John L. Richard is charged with robbery and assault. He could face more charges. (Clay County Sheriff's Office)

A thief thought he could rip a woman off by snatching her purse in the middle of a busy Northland Walmart until a group of Good Samaritans foiled his plans and held him for police.

Mella Mora was inside the Walmart off North Church Road for about two minutes when a man swiped her purse from her cart.

Alan Welty heard her and saw a man bolting toward him.

“She was screaming at the top of her lungs,” Welty said.

"I said, 'Stop him! Stop him! He has got my purse.' I mean yelling so loud I think they heard me back in electronics," Mora said.

In an instant, Welty decided to try to stop the man from leaving the store.

"He punched me in the face with a left cross. I tried to connect on him and throw a kick. We kind of wrestled," Welty said.

By that time, Kelli Griffin and her husband, who happens to have military police training, entered the store.

"He grabbed one [of the men] to pull them apart. The man’s wife started saying, 'It’s not him! It’s the other guy,'" Griffin said.

Police say the other guy, the suspect, John L. Richard, rushed toward Griffin during his escape attempt. 

“I took my purse and I hit him. He hit me, knocking me into the box of recycling bags,” Griffin said.

“Then it was just a wrestling game to try and keep him in the store,” Welty said.

Griffin's husband used his training to hold the suspect.

“He kept telling him, ‘stop resisting, stop resisting’ and restrained him there until we were able to get the police on site,” Griffin said.

“I was so grateful that people could jump in and do something like that. These days, people don't want to get involved," Mora said.

Because Welty stepped in, his young twins tell everyone they can why their dad deserves the armbands he wears. 

"Flash, Superman and Batman,” Welty said while pointing to the colorful armbands on his wrist. "These are all superhero bands that my son gave me." His family jokes about the fact he was wearing the superhero bands the day he helped stop a thief.

Mora says all of the Good Samaritans were her heroes that day. She’s planning a special way to thank them.

Richard, who is charged with robbery and assault, could face more charges. While being checked out at the hospital, he is accused of biting a medic and shoving hospital staff. When police arrested him, they say they found drug paraphernalia in his pockets.

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