Raleigh thieves target women in purse-snatching scheme

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Four suspects in a Raleigh purse snatching scheme have been arrested and now their victims are speaking out. (Credit: Wake County Sheriff's Office )

Four suspects in a Raleigh purse-snatching scheme have been arrested and now their victims are speaking out.

"I've never been hit like that before," Karen Kvam said.

Around 1 p.m. on Friday, she was walking towards BJ's Wholesale Club near Triangle Town Center when she was attacked.

"I felt this huge bang on my back like somebody just pounded me and yanked on my pocketbook and took off," she explained. "I'm not a spring chicken but I ran after them... but I couldn't keep up with them."

Roughly 15 minutes later, Raleigh police said the thieves found another victim nearby.

"I was just putting my bags inside and when I (was) done I could not find my handbag," Nahla Shakhashiro said.

Shakhashiro went back inside the store to find her bag, which she thought she had misplaced, only to learn that security video captured the thieves stealing her purse from her shopping cart.

"My purse, my handbag, whatever it is... I won't leave it like this," Shakhasiro said. "I will keep it with me. I will put it first in the car."

So far, three women have reported their purses were snatched between Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

The victims' cash, credit cards, and cell phones all gone in an instant.

The alert upset shoppers Saturday.

"I don't see how they sleep at night doing that to someone," Raleigh resident Nasheba Allred said.

Raleigh Police have arrested four men in connection with the thefts: Tyheim Battle, Brian Strickland, Keiontre Brooks, and Garrett Batcheler.

Battle and Strickland are charged with larceny. Brooks is accused of helping with the incident and Batcheler is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Even though these men are behind bars, their actions are still affecting residents.

"I probably won't carry much when I go out," Kvam said. "I will just have exactly what I need."

Raleigh police said that's the right attitude to have. They suggest holding onto purses tightly. Keeping them close to your body.

All four suspects are due in court on Monday.

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