Police: Attempted purse snatcher in James City caught by Target employee and customer

10:39 AM EDT, July 25, 2014


JAMES CITY - A county man police say attempted to snatch a woman's purse off her shoulder in the Target parking lot Thursday night was apprehended by a store employee and a customer.

Benjamin Brock Lewis, 28,. was arrested and charged with felony attempted larceny from a person, two counts of assault and battery and drunk in public. Deputy Chief Stephen Rubino with James City police said the incident took place around 9 p.m. in the parking lot of Target at Monticello Marketplace.

Rubino said when police arrived, Lewis was being held on the ground by a pair of 25-year-old men.

"A Target employee and a patron chased him down,” Rubino said.  “(Lewis) pushed one and punched one, but they were able to hold him down until police got there."

Police determined the 52-year-old woman was walking in the store parking lot when Lewis approached her from behind. Rubino said Lewis grabbed the purse and tried to pull it away. The woman, who was on her cellphone, pulled back and screamed, he noted.

The straps of the purse broke, spilling the contents on the ground, Rubino said. He said Lewis then ran toward the Dollar Tree where the employee and patron confronted him and a struggle ensued.

The woman, the employee and the customer suffered minor injuries during the incident, but did not require medical treatment.

Rubino said Lewis is being held at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond.