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A 94-year-old woman who was targeted by a group of young purse-snatchers at Southland Mall in Miami-Dade is speaking out after she was left bruised in the incident.
Kathleen Johnson said she tried to fend off the young robbers in the mall Monday morning.
“All of a sudden there was somebody behind me yanking on my purse and I turned around and I grabbed it back from him,” she told NBC 6 Tuesday. “Then he grabbed it again and took off with my purse and I was off balance and fell down and I guess I hit my mouth.”
Three of the suspects were minors with one as young as 10, but one, Charles Flowers, Jr., is 27.
“I can’t imagine a 27-year-old being with those juveniles,” Johnson said.
All of the suspects appeared in court Tuesday on charges including grand theft and fleeing and alluding a police officer. Flowers was ordered on house arrest or a $10,000 bond.
Police said Flowers and the minors started their crime spree at 200th Street and U.S. 1, where a 60-year-old woman was sitting on a bus bench when she was surrounded by the group, who took off with her purse.
The robberies led to a brief police chase that ended with the suspects driving through the property of Miami MacArthur South Senior High School, where they crashed into a wall and bailed out, police said. The incident caused a school lockdown until they were caught.
Johnson still hasn’t gotten her purse back, including one of her prized possessions, a silver rosary. She said she hopes the juveniles get help.
“I feel that they should get counseling. I mean they’re young and they need a lot of good counseling as to how they’re gonna to spend their lives,” Johnson said.
One of the juveniles was put on home detention, while another is due back in court on Wednesday. The third will be in court on May 15.