Citizens intervene, detain purse snatcher – Hemet transient arrested

HEMET – A transient resident of Hemet was arrested Monday, May 16, after the man stole a purse from an 80-year-old woman in the 700 block of E. Latham Avenue, in Hemet. Several bystanders who saw the strong-arm robbery intervened on the victim’s behalf and chased the suspect, ultimately detaining him in the 600 block of E. Latham Avenue.

Upon arrival, officers detained the alleged purse-snatcher and conducted an investigation. Officers identified the man as Timothy Ernest Helton, 29. At the conclusion of their investigation, officers arrested Helton for robbery and stealing from a dependent elder.

The Hemet Police Dispatch Center received a 911 call at about 3:27 p.m., from a witness reporting a ‘strong arm’ robbery that had just occurred in the 700 block of E. Latham Avenue. The person who called 911 provided emergency communications dispatchers with a description of the suspect and told dispatch that he was last seen running north on Taylor Street.

As officers were still en route to the area, another witness called 911 and told dispatchers that several bystanders had chased the suspect through a park in the area and detained him in the 600 block of E. Latham Avenue. Officers responded to the location and detained Helton.

The officer’s investigation revealed that Helton forcibly grabbed the purse from the arm of the 80-year-old female victim and ran into Weston Park. Several citizens saw the crime and chased Helton through the park. As Helton was fleeing from the pursuing citizens, he dropped the victim’s purse, which was recovered and returned to the victim. The witnesses who chased Helton caught and detained him until officers arrived.

The elderly victim and several witnesses positively identified Helton as the suspect who had stolen the woman’s purse.

The victim was not injured and all of her property was returned to her.

A jail records search revealed Helton was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta for suspicion of robbery and elder abuse. He is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned on his charges this morning.


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