Police: Purse-snatchers hit victims close to home

SEATTLE -- A handful of purse-snatchers hit their victims close to home during a 16-hour period last week in Seattle, according to the Seattle Police Department.

Shortly after 5 p.m. last Thursday, a woman who had recently moved to the Seward Park neighborhood was walking toward her house from the bus stop after work when a man ran up behind her in the 5100 block of South Orcas Street, according to the police report for the incident.

The man reportedly grabbed the victim's purse from her shoulder and punched her in the nose when she tried to hold on to it.

The man was able to escape with the victim's purse, which contained a smiley-face keychain reading "Have a safe day," according to the report.

The victim's cards were later successfully and unsuccessfully used at a number of ATMs in the area.

Another woman was walking home around 1:30 a.m. Friday. She was crossing the street toward her apartment -- near Third Avenue and Bell Street -- when she was hit in the back of the head, according to the report for the incident.

The victim later told officers she was immediately surrounded by three women, who held her arms behind her back, took her purse and knocked her to the ground.

According to the report, the three women took off with the victim's purse, and she ran home.

Later that day, an unknown man returned the victim's purse, but her credit card was missing. It had been used at approximately 20 different businesses, including McDonald's, 7-Eleven and Sound Transit, following the robbery.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, a woman was leaving her house near East Olive Way and Belmont Avenue East when a man grabbed the purse from her hand and got into the passenger seat of a waiting car, according to the report for the incident.

The victim was able to get a partial license plate number from the car as it sped off.