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One woman's story of purse snatching at local gas station

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Don’t let your guard down! That’s the message from a woman who was the victim of a purse snatching in the middle of the day.

“If I was in some rural area with nobody else around, I probably would have thought twice about it,” explains Elaine Choi.

The 23-year-old UBC student was filling her tank at a gas station at Oak and 41st. “I got back into my car to drive away and then a man in his late 30s or early 40s, I don’t quite remember what he looks like because it was so quick, pulled up to the gas station right next to me and waved at me to slow down and stop because something was wrong with my back right tire.”

Choi admits she should have been more concerned. “It’s an open area, there’s so many witnesses around, there’s so much traffic… I just kind of thought, ‘oh, there must be something wrong with my tire.’ I put my car in park and opened my door.”

“As I did so, he actually opened my passenger-side door and he snatched my bag and ran back to his car,” she tells us.

She chased after him, but the man pushed her down and drove off. Although there were many people around, no one was able to see his licence plate.

This comes just a week after the VPD warned of purse snatchings at gas stations. Choi says police officers were very helpful, attending the scene right away and trying to track the cell phone and get fingerprints.

Choi was taken aback with how brazen the crime was, adding it’s probably not the first or last time the man has done it. “I was alone, I’m 23 years old and a female. I was probably a prime target and he went for the kill.”

She hopes that if just one person thinks twice next time this happens, he won’t get away with it. It’s not just inconvenient; Choi is scared because now someone has all of her ID.

Choi says next time, she will have the door locked and just roll down the window.