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Elderly purse snatching victim believes robber used a child as a decoy

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

“I’m never scared. I feel pretty comfortable here,” said a 91-year-old purse-snatching victim.

The victim, who FOX 8 will not identify, said she was caught off guard Monday around 3 p.m. in the 4900 block of Carondelet as she returned home from the drug store.

“They started talking to me. There was a girl who could have been 18 or 20.  She was well dressed and the young man with her stood in the middle of the street. They had this kid, maybe 10 years old with them,” the victim said.

She said the woman engaged her first.

“She started asking me, 'Can we help?' She started looking under my carport, and I said, 'You don’t have to come in here. You can see what I’m doing,'” the victim said.

The elderly victim said the man stood in the street, and eventually the young boy started talking.

“The little boy asked me a question. He said, 'Can I help you?" He was sort of distracting me, and then the woman started walking into my carport, and I said, 'Please get out,'” the victim said.

Instead, she said the woman took the opportunity to reach over and grab the victim’s purse.

“She snatched what I had in my hand. It was well practiced to do that. It wasn’t something she did for the first time, I’m sure,” the victim said.

The 91-year-old wasn't hurt, but she is upset about what happened. She’s especially sad that a young child was involved in the robbery.

“You see, I thought they had a whole drama thing planned. The man in the street, the little boy was there as a decoy to make me look at the little boy, so she could get around the back of me and pull it,” the victim said.

Police believe three males and one female were actually involved in the robbery of the woman.

About an hour after that incident, police were called to the 4600 bock of Freret Street, where they say another robbery unfolded involving three males and one female. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the suspects walking across the street, and then eventually two of them turn around and follow the victim. The video shows one of the suspect snatching the purse of the female victim. Police are still investigating to determine if the two robberies were committed by the same suspects.

“I choose to live in this city. Things happen in the city. What is so unbelievable to me is that this happened in the middle of the day when people are out in the street,” the victim said.

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