Purse Snatching Safety

UPDATE 3/13/14 @ 11:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — A purse-snatching in downtown Charleston is leaving some on edge Thursday, especially with so many people in town for the state basketball tournament.

This week is a big time for head coach Penn Kurtz and the Wheeling Central Catholic girls basketball team. They’re playing for a state title.

However, what play to call isn’t the biggest risk Kurtz faces.

“As a girls coach, I’m always worried about their safety,” said Kurtz.

With thousands of people in town this week, and next week for the boys tournament, the risk for crime increases.

Thursday, Malik Soss was arrested and charged with Petit Larceny following a purse snatching at the Charleston Town Center.

Deneika Rice was arrested at the same time, taken in on drug charges.

Butch Hiles, a self-defense teacher in Charleston, says whether you’re at the mall or just walking down the street, it’s critical to pay attention to your surroundings.

“People are looking for people that are vulnerable,” said Hiles.

Also, don’t go out alone. That’s why Kurtz always has his team on a buddy system.

“When we’re in the hotel, we expect them to stay on the floor,” said Kurtz, “and they like to come to the mall so we always make sure they’re supervised.”

If you do become a victim, Hiles recommends not going after the suspect. Though it may be an instict, alerting authorities should come before chasing down your stolen stuff.

“They’re definitely not going to stop and say ‘here’s your purse, sorry, and give it back,'” said Hiles.

In the end, what’s inside is rarely worth the risk; and it’s certainly not more important than your safety.

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