Brothers chase down WalMart purse snatcher

11/08/2012 12:48 PM |
Lewin, Riverhead police, WalMart

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Brian and Keith Lewin can now add ‘crime fighters’ to their family business sign, after catching a purse snatcher Thursday morning.

It’s Lewin brothers to the rescue!

When a Riverhead man snatched a woman’s pocketbook in the parking lot of WalMart a little after 10 a.m. Thursday,  Brian and Keith Lewin were loading a truck at their nearby family business, Lewin Medical Supply.

“I heard the lady yelling ‘police!, police!” Brian told the News-Review Thursday. “So I turned my head and saw a lady chasing a man with a pocketbook, and then I saw the man trying to jump the fence behind our neighbor’s house.”

Brian took off running after the suspect, and Keith took off down Oliver Street in the van.

“I caught him on the neighbor’s property and threw him to the ground,” Brian said. “Then when I took the pocketbook, he got up again and started running.

The man headed towards Oliver Street, and turned around to see Brian once again running after him.

But when he turned back around, he ran into the van that Keith was driving, Brian said.

“He tried to go around the back of the van, but I was already out of the van and threw him to the ground,” Keith said.

Riverhead police had already been called by a witness to the theft, and were on the scene within three minutes to arrest the man, Brian said.

Brian said he’d done anything like this before, although he added he didn’t think twice about chasing the suspect, who had a knife in his pocket when they caught him, according to Brian.

“I wouldn’t want anybody doing that to anybody I know,” Brian said.

Keith, who was in the Marines in the early 1990s, said a lot’s changed between his warrior days and now.

“We’re not athletes, dude, we’re old and fat,” he said.

Riverhead police identified the suspect as Albert Zachary, 42, of Riverhead.

He was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, since there were credit cards in the pocketbook.

The charge wasn’t robbery because the suspect took the pocketbook out of a shopping cart and ran, police said. If the suspect had taken the purse directly from the victim, it could have been a robbery charge, police said.

tgannon@timesreview.com