GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Guilford police arrested a juvenile for a purse snatching incident last week.

Just a few days later on September 4, officers responded to Shoreline Plaza for a purse theft and found that a victim was returning her shopping cart when she was confronted by a man who had been circling the lot. He grabbed the victim’s purse, which she attempted to hang onto, and she was knocked down, sustaining minor injuries.

The man drove away, but the victim was able to obtain a description of the suspect, his car, and his license plate number.

Police said the suspect’s car had been reported stolen from another town less than an hour before the purse theft.

On Wednesday, police arrested the male suspect, a 16-year-old, and charged him with robbery in the second degree, larceny in the third degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree, conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree, and criminal attempt at payment card theft.

The 16-year-old was held at the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center, awaiting arraignment.

Purse snatching incidents aren’t new to the town; Guilford police are telling residents to “ditch the purse” amid recent incidents.

On September 2, three suspects arrived at a local gas station and found an unsuspecting victim busy at the gas pump. Guilford police said the suspects pulled up beside the victim’s car and one man walked over to the victim’s passenger side door and removed a backpack.

Once realizing the keys to the victim’s car were in the backpack, the suspects returned to the gas station, but at the time of their second arrival, the victim was back in the car, trying to turn it on without the key. Police said the suspects fled for a second time.

See the video of the incident, provided by Guilford police, below:

While the suspects attempted to buy gift cards at another gas station with the stolen credit cards from the victim’s backpack, fraud protection prevented the theft. The suspects tried to steal from more parked cars in another local town before fleeing the area.

Police said they are looking to identify the suspects at this time.

“It’s a sad day when people can’t gas up without locking up, but it has become the reality across the state,” Guilford police said. “This is a reminder to always take your keys and lock the car when fueling. Also, be aware of your surroundings, and if you see something, say something.”

In an attempt to limit these crimes, Guilford police offered the following tips:

  • Carry only the essentials and ditch the purse
  • Have a list of all valuable items in your purse
  • Place a tile or air tag device in the lining of the bag or wallet
  • Carry the purse in front of your body
  • Do not carry your social security cards inside your purse or wallet
  • Set up or download fraud alerts onto your devices
  • If suspects are seen, gather as many details as possible to relay to the police
  • Carry your keys in parking lots rather than leaving them in your purse
  • Do not engage in a struggle if someone attempts to snatch your purse
  • Trust your instincts