BELLEVUE, Wash. - Bellevue police arrested four suspects they say worked as a team to snatch the of a customer they targeted Monday at Bellevue Square.
Investigators say the woman had her purse in a stroller next to a bench inside Bellevue Square when one of the suspects approached from behind, grabbed the purse and ran.
Police said the suspect with the purse and another suspect ran out of the mall and across the street where two people were waiting in a getaway car.
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An alert witness saw what was happening and got the license plate on the Cadillac Fleetwood sedan.
A Bellevue motorcycle officer spotted the car pull into a driveway in Newport Hills. Detectives said four people inside were throwing items out as they sped away on the wrong side of the street, and when they reached a dead-end road they jumped out.
Police caught two of the suspects right away; a third suspect was arrested minutes later. The manhunt for the fourth suspect took hours and had schools nearby locked down.
The suspect wasn't wearing a shirt and was moving through backyards off Newcastle Way near 121st Place SE, police said.
They used dogs and King County's Guardian One helicopter to track him.
At one point, investigators thought he was in an attic of a house and called in the SWAT team.
More than an hour later, the suspect was spotted in a backyard a few houses away. He was arrested around 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Neighbors wondered why there were so many resources put into the search.
“I was like damn what was in that purse or whose purse was it? There were a lot of resources for a purse snatcher,” neighbor Steve Kenkman said.
KIRO-7 has learned the suspect is an 18-year-old who is suspected in numerous home burglaries on the Eastside, including a burglary where weapons were stolen, Bellevue police said.
The suspect appeared in court Tuesday afternoon investigation of theft 2, burglary 2 and attempting to elude police.
They say the teen was in the mall when the purse was stolen and that he was driving the getaway car.
The 18-year-old had a warrant out of Federal Way and had several pending cases. The prosecutor read of list of pending charges including theft 3, obstruction of a police officer and resisting arrest.
According to the prosecutor he has convictions for obstructing, theft, organized retail theft, burglary, possession of stolen property and assault.
His bail was set at $40,000.
He’s scheduled to be back in court on Thursday.
According to court documents, the suspect who actually grabbed the purse from the stroller is 17-years-old. The other two suspects were waiting in the car.
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