Purse snatcher throws 81-year-old grandmother to ground during Houston mugging

HOUSTON (KPRC/CNN) - Police in Houston say the release of surveillance video showing an 81-year-old grandmother being attacked by a purse snatcher brought such an angry response from the public that the suspect may be safer in jail than on the streets.

A few days before Thanksgiving, 81-year-old Christine Henry was walking to a metro rail station in Houston when she became the target of a purse snatcher.

As seen in surveillance video, a man in a Cadillac Escalade pulled up behind Henry. He got out of the SUV, sprinted up to her and grabbed her purse, throwing the grandmother to the ground in the process.

Henry says she didn’t know she was being robbed until the suspect was on top of her.

"It was real quick, just like lightning,” she said. “If that purse wouldn’t have been on my shoulder, I ought to have let him have it. I lose all my medicine, insurance card, my bank card, food stamps, ID, social security, all that.”

In an effort to locate the suspect, the Houston Police Department released video of the attack Wednesday. The post racked up a long list of angry comments, including threats, robbery Detective Jeff Brieden says.

“There are a lot of people threatening to do harm against this person, and it’s probably better that he just turn himself in to us before somebody else gets a hold of him because the fact that you just don’t do that,” Brieden said.

Henry says she wants the suspect in jail. For now, he remains at large.

"Them people need to be punished hard. They getting by too easy. They need their behind whooped," Henry said.

Police are asking anyone who recognizes the man or car in the surveillance video to contact Houston Crime Stoppers.

Copyright 2020 KPRC, Houston Police via CNN. All rights reserved.