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Young people who spotted a suspect in South Gate chasing a woman as she carried groceries on a city street, then saw him mug the victim, chased the man and restrained him until peace officers arrived, police said.
The crime was reported at 9 p.m. Oct. 2 at an undisclosed location in South Gate.
Youngsters walking near the 50-year-old woman spotted a man driving slowly, apparently targeting the woman for a possible crime, a South Gate police lieutenant wrote in a news release.
The pick-up truck driver was slouched behind the steering wheel with a “hoodie” pulled over his head, police said.
One of the youngsters warned the woman with the groceries to be careful because it appeared that a vehicle was following her, and its driver might be planning to rob her.
The pickup truck driver got out of the vehicle and began to follow the woman, eventually grabbing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground.
The suspect grabbed the woman’s purse, which she relinquished in fear for her life, according to police.
Later identified as a 45-year-old Compton resident, the suspect ran off with the purse but was caught and held by the youngsters until police arrived, according to the lieutenant.
He eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and was sentenced to prison for 11 years, police said.
Information on the suspect's name and the exact charges filed against him -- also the address where the crime took place -- was not immediately available from police Thursday.
Calls to the South Gate Police Department were not returned.
South Gate police Lt. Darren Arakawa said crooks often target vulnerable people, sometimes acting alone or with others.
"In some incidents the suspect, working alone or in concert with others, may try a ruse such as asking the victim what time it is," Arakawa wrote in the ews release.
"Street robbers often target people wearing gold necklaces (or) people who may appear to be distracted while talking on their cell phones."
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