Man attempts to steal handbag outside Maple Valley Fred Meyer, gets tackled after chase on foot | Breaking news

Laura Bingle holds her handbag outside of the Maple Valley Fred Meyer where the attempted theft took place on Tuesday.  - TJ Martinell, The Reporter
Laura Bingle holds her handbag outside of the Maple Valley Fred Meyer where the attempted theft took place on Tuesday.
— image credit: TJ Martinell, The Reporter

Memo to would-be purse-snatchers in Maple Valley: You might want to seek business elsewhere.

That's what one man found after he allegedly attempted to steal a Maple Valley woman's handbag at the new Fred Meyer. The result was a chase on foot, road block and eventually the suspect was caught and detained by citizens.

Laura Bingle stated in a telephone interview that she was just about to leave Fred Meyer at around 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, when a young man grabbed her handbag from inside of her car as she was carrying a grocery bag.

Rather than merely call for help, Bingle said she kicked off her shoes and pursued the suspect barefoot across the parking lot.

Bingle said outright anger made her chase after him.

"I had never been mugged before," she said. "I had no idea what was I thinking. I was mad. I couldn't believe it. I was just thinking I needed to get my bag. He must have thought I wouldn't chase him."

The chase continued onto Kent Kangley Road and eventually towards Summit Landsberg Road. Seeing cars on the road, Bingel began to scream at them to stop the suspect.

"At that point there was enough traffic in the street that people knew what was going on," she said. "He was running through the streets of Maple Valley with my sparkling handbag. I thought he'd drop it once he saw that I was chasing him. But he didn't drop it."

At that point, Bingle said four cars blocked the suspect, at which point he dropped her handbag, but kept her wallet.

"He turned around and realized I was still chasing him," Bingle said.

Bingel then managed to get the attention of Ron Read, who was driving home on the Kent-Kangley Road from his job as a part of the Maple Valley Highway roadway improvement project.

"I see a guy running out front and a gal chasing him and I had my window down, she said 'Somebody stop him!'" he said.

Read stated he cut the suspect off with his car. The suspect then tried to run into the nearby woods. Read jumped out of his car and tackled the suspect on the side of the road.

"I didn't want him to get away," he said. "The gal was distressed and screaming. Adrenaline just kicked in. It was kind of foggy there at first. I was just trying help her out. That was the firs time I had ever done anything like that."

After he restrained the suspect, an off-duty security officer happened to be driving by who was able to offer her handcuffs until the police arrived. All of Bingle's belongings were recovered.

Without the aid of the other pedestrians and drivers, Bingel believes the suspect would have gotten away.

"I don't know if I would have caught him,"she said. "I was barefoot, running through gravel. I think that if all those cars and Ron hadn't jumped out of his car, I would have lost at least my wallet. I didn't know what to do with him when I caught him."

The suspect was booked into the King County Jail.

King County Sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West stated in an email interview that while the office normally doesn't encourage people to pursue suspects, she admitted that "I would have chased him too."

"Better to lose your wallet than your life and in this day and age of violence this could have ended with a different and bad outcome," she said. "I think it was awesome that so many citizens jumped in to help the victim. I have heard stories of people in other states standing by and not getting involved when people need help. It was great to see that so many jumped in to help."


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