Bystander helps track down alleged Turlock purse-snatcher

A man who allegedly snatched a woman’s purse as she was loading groceries into her car at a Turlock store was arrested minutes later, thanks to a good Samaritan.

The suspect, Charles Turknett, 18, was on a bike in the Big Lots parking lot on Geer Road when he rode by and took the woman’s purse out of her cart, laughing as he rode off, according to police Lt. Steve Williams.

The witness heard the woman screaming for help, saw Turknett, called 911 on his cell phone and followed Turknett in his car for several blocks.

An officer caught up with them as Turknett allegedly pulled into a friend’s house on Dalarna, about a 1¼ miles west of Geer Road.

Turknett, who had the purse in a backpack he was wearing when he was stopped, was booked into Stanislaus County Jail on a charge of felony larceny.

The purse and all its contents were returned to the woman.

Williams said the woman did "absolutely the right thing to scream and ask for help. She drew the bystander's attention to her."

He also lauded the bystander for his efforts.

Williams said it's important in that type of setting to be aware of your surroundings. He said the suspect circled the woman at least once and possibly twice before swooping in.

"If you have valuables in your cart, walk from the store door directly to the car, and don’t waste time transferring stuff from cart to car," Williams said.

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