Police Catch Accused Purse Snatchers Targeting Seniors


UPDATED: Thursday November 14, 2013 11:44 PM

Lancaster Police say a pair of serial purse-snatchers is behind bars.
 
Investigators say they stole from five different women in Lancaster until an alert store clerk ended their spree.
 
Police say the suspects had a pattern of targeting older women. two of their victims were 77. One was 85.
 
Thanks to an eagle-eyed store employee, the two accused thieves are now in the Fairfield County jail.
     
77-year-old Shirley Morris found herself the victim of a pair of thieves apparently targeting women of a certain age.
 
Police say the pair stole purses and wallets of five women at grocery stores and gas stations around Lancaster.
 
"I have a feeling they were really watching me," says Morris, but she says she never even caught a glimpse of them.
 
She says she turned away from her grocery cart for just a few seconds, and when she looked back, her purse was gone.
 
"Very angry. And hurt too," she says. "You know, you lose your valuables in your purse, that's personal to you."
 
It also happened to 85-year-old Talitha Nichols.
 
"I went home and my husband said, 'what took you so long?' And I said, 'don't start on me. I don't feel like it. Someone took my purse today.'"
 
Surveillance cameras caught the thieves running off with Talitha's purse in hand.
 
Yesterday morning, police say a man tried to cash money orders at a Lancaster Kroger.
 
The store clerk recognized the money orders as the same ones he'd sold to one of the purse-snatching victims. The clerk called police.
 
Lancaster Police responded and arrested 33-year-old Zachary Norris and 30-year-old Ashley Williams.
 
They say both have open warrants out of Hocking County.
 
Investigators say a search of their motel room turned up purses and wallets linked to five different thefts.     
 
"Why do you have to do things like this?" asks Morris. "Why don't you ask somebody for help instead of stealing from others? Especially older people."
 
Norris and Williams are each charged with multiple felonies
 
They're both being held on $150,000 bond.
 
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