Kupuna targets of recent purse-snatching incidents

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — This week, two elderly women have gotten their purses violently snatched by thieves, and the incidents only happened one day apart from each other.

One purse-snatching incident happened early Monday morning in Chinatown. The 80-year-old victim said she was waiting around 5:55 a.m. for her tai chi class to begin. She was sitting on the wall near Nuuanu Stream when two men came up to talk to her.

“These unknown strangers are trying to initiate a conversation with her,” said Sgt. Chris Kim with Crimestoppers. “They’re trying to befriend her. They’re trying to gain her trust, for her to put her guard down, at which point one of them took advantage of that situation and was able to snatch her purse.”

The victim told me she was pushed to the ground. One of the thieves held her down while the the other pulled the cross-body bag off her.

“They’re basically just rolling the dice, they’re just hoping theres going to be something in there. They see these senior citizens as easy targets because the chance of these senior citizens chasing after them is highly unlikely,” said Kim.

This incident comes one day after another purse-snatching involving a 75-year-old woman on Naio Street in Kalihi. This happened on Sunday. Police say two thieves jumped out of a car and violently grabbed her purse, leaving her sprawled on the ground. It happened at 5:40 a.m.

Kim said one thing to be aware of is that thieves often strike when it’s still dark out.

“If you’re going to be alone, early morning hours or late hours, you know, consider not carrying a purse or a bag with you. Consider having it in your pockets,” said Kim.

“Just take into consideration the time and the place that you’re going to be at, and just think, you know, is it appropriate to bring this purse with me?”

Sgt. Chris Kim, Crimestoppers

Kim said people need to take precaution, especially now.

“We’ve just been hearing a lot of these cases involving our senior citizens and kupuna, so we just highly recommend that if you do have family members that are able to accompany you, please ask them. Please reach out to them,” said Kim.

As for the thieves, Kim said those who target kupuna can often get extended sentences.

Police are still searching for the suspects in both cases. If you saw what happened or have any information, you can contact police or Crimestoppers at 955-8300.

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