Woman, 94, Fought Back Against Mall Purse-Snatchers

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.