BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Purse snatching is a crime that happens too often. Good Samaritans jumping the aid of the victim by chasing down the suspect, however, is certainly less common.
But that's exactly what happened Saturday evening in the parking lot of the newly opened LeBlanc's Grocery store on Drusilla Lane. An 84-year-old woman was attacked by a 49-year-old man who was reportedly high on cocaine.
"We were just coming back in town from Covington. We stopped at the store to run in real quick and pick up something. That was when he had just taken her purse and was running across the parking lot," said Jane, one woman who helped catch the attacker. "[The elderly lady] was on the ground and that's when we hopped back in our car and we cut him [the suspect] off."
Jane, who did not want to use her real name, didn't stop to think about what was happening.
"I just instinctively jumped out of the car," she said. "He started swinging at me and I hit him to get the purse back. Another woman and I wrestled with him. We got him to the ground and then my husband got out of the car and another young gentleman stopped and helped my husband hold him to the ground. The younger gentleman, he was maybe in his 20's, he wasn't a very big guy, but he jumped in and helped. All these other people were standing around and no one else came to help."
Thankfully, the group did not have to struggle with the man for too long.
"The police were there really quick," she said emphatically. "The policemen that were involved were very professional. I'm glad I have those guys protecting me and my city. Cops nowadays are getting such a bad rap."
It wasn't until Hills was carted off to prison that Jane and her husband had a chance to reflect on what happened.
"When you're in the moment you don't think, you just react. I never even thought about that the fact that I could have been hurt," Jane admitted. "You don't think about it until after and your adrenaline stops. At the time, I just knew it was an elderly lady was hurt. That's somebody's grandma."
Although the elderly woman was injured, her damages were considered minor. She did have cuts on her face due to being dragged to the ground during the incident.
Roughly eight months after being released from prison, Hills is back behind bars. He served a 23 year sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of armed robbery and one count of first-degree robbery in 1993. He was released to good time parole supervision on August 4, 2014 and is to be supervised until November 2037.
When questioned by police, Hills allegedly admitted to the crime. He told them he was, "high on cocaine and needed money to buy more drugs."
"He had car keys in his hand," Jane recalled. "He was running back to his car. He was loaded on cocaine and he drove over there like that."
Hills is charged with purse snatching and two counts of simple battery. He is being held in lieu of a $175,000 bond.