Turlock

74-year-old woman shopping in Turlock goes after wallet thief, gets hit by fleeing car

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A 74-year-old woman trying to stop the escape of the man she believed stole her wallet was struck and injured by his open car door as he fled Monday afternoon, Turlock police reported. The man and his alleged accomplice quickly were captured and face a string of charges.

The incident began when officers were dispatched to the 2800 block of Countryside Drive — the area of the Monte Vista Crossings shopping center — on a report of fraud in progress. While en route, they were advised the suspect had left one store and was seen entering another, on the 3000 block of Countryside, Turlock Police Department spokesman Sgt. Russell Holeman said Tuesday.

About this same time, the woman whose wallet was stolen went into the same store, looking for the thieves. She recognized the alleged thieves, later identified as Katrina Thrash and Charles Prince III, and alerted people in the store.

Thrash and Prince were leaving the store, and the theft victim followed, Holeman said. Prince got into a car, while Thrash continued on foot.

The 74-year-old, aided by some witnesses to what was taking place, tried to stop Prince from driving away, Holeman said. Prince “placed his vehicle in reverse, striking the elderly female and another victim with his open car door as he did so,” the sergeant said. “He then struck two vehicles as he backed out and fled the area.”

The theft victim and witness were treated at the scene for apparent minor injuries suffered when hit by the car door.

A police officer who was arriving just as Prince was leaving the parking lot pulled over the suspect nearby and placed him under arrest. Thrash was found hiding in bushes and also arrested.

Surveillance video footage viewed by police shows Prince distracting the theft victim as she shops at a grocery store, Holeman said. Thrash can be seen taking the wallet from the woman’s purse.

“They both then went to a store in the 2800 block of Countryside, where they attempted to make a purchase with the stolen credit cards but were denied due to the employee recognizing them as having previously used stolen credit cards earlier in the month,” Holeman said.

Thrash and Prince then moved on to the store in the 3000 block, where they tried to use the stolen cards to make a large purchase, the sergeant said. When asked by employees to produce identification, the two began to leave, and that’s when the victim saw them.

Prince, 25, was booked on six counts of assault with a deadly weapon, credit card fraud, grand theft, conspiracy and elder abuse, Holeman said. Thrash, 26, faces credit card fraud, grand theft, conspiracy and elder abuse charges, the sergeant said. She also had warrants from five other law enforcement agencies for similar charges.

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