Woman's purse stolen near Grossmont Center shopping mall

Incident occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Friday

LA MESA, Calif. - A woman's handbag was ripped from her arm near the Grossmont Center shopping mall during a struggle with a robber, La Mesa police said.

The suspected purse-snatcher approached the woman from behind as she walked near the intersection of Grossmont Center and Healthcare drives shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, according to La Mesa police Lt. Angela DeSarro.

The robber began pulling at the woman's purse and a struggle ensued as she tried to hang on, but the man forcibly grabbed the handbag from her arm and the victim lost her balance and fell to the ground, DeSarro said.

He then got into a silver two-door vehicle and another man drove him away. They were last seen headed north on Grossmont Center Drive, she said.

The woman did not sustain any visible injuries and declined medical treatment at the scene, DeSarro said.

Officers searched the surrounding areas, but did not find either man or the vehicle, DeSarro said.

The suspected purse-snatcher was described as a black man who was 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall with an athletic build. He was wearing a blue polo shirt and dark colored pants.

Another woman's purse was stolen at gunpoint outside the mall Oct. 7. That woman was approached by a car with three occupants in a parking lot near the Macy's and had her purse grabbed from her shoulder by the front-seat passenger, police said.

When she did not let go, the purse-snatcher pointed a handgun at her, police said.

A 71-year-old woman's purse was also stolen outside the mall Feb. 11.

Suspect descriptions differed in those incidents.

Police asked anyone with information on the suspects to call them at (619) 667-1400 or to contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or online at sdcrimestoppers.com.

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