A 32-year-old Westminster woman died after she was struck by an SUV driven by purse thieves being followed by a police task force at a shopping center in Garden Grove in an attack caught on surveillance camera, police said.
Witnesses say they heard screaming, the sound of what they thought was a traffic crash and then a car screeching off in a parking lot at 13800 Brookhurst Blvd. about 9:45 a.m.
From the video, it appears the woman knows someone is chasing her. The thief is wearing black. She is wearing a hat as she runs away. He grabs her and her purse then drags her back toward his car.
From another angle you can see how the woman tried to hold on to her purse as she’s being pulled by the man. He jumps into the car. She is knocked to the ground.
Felipe Ayuzo heard the cries for help. He ran from the bakery where he works.
The woman was walking with her sister in a parking lot about 9:45 a.m. when a car pulled alongside them and a thief tried to wrestle away the victim’s purse, according to Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney.
“At some point during the struggle the female victim was run over by the suspect vehicle,” Whitney said.
Police followed a trail of evidence. They say as the suspects drove along the Garden Grove (22) Freeway they began to throw items out of their moving Volkswagen.
The freeway was shut down then eventually reopened.
The pursuit ended almost 30 miles away near the Harbor Freeway and Century Boulevard.
Three men were taken into custody.
An undercover team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had been following the car, believed to be connected to a string of burglaries and thefts. Details about the origin of the investigation were not clear.