BELLINGHAM - A purse-snatching suspect was tackled by a bystander Friday morning, Nov. 30, outside a Bellingham 7-Eleven.
Austin J. Countryman, 18, was snooping around the outside of the store at 1300 Lakeway Drive, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young. A man sitting in his car saw the suspect peer into car windows and tug on car door handles.
"So he just decided to sit and watch him for a second," Young said.
A 66-year-old Seattle woman was leaving the store at 10 a.m. when Countryman grabbed her shoulder-strap purse with enough force to spin her around, spilling the woman's coffee, Young said.
The bystander, a 27-year-old Whatcom County man, leapt out of his car and chased the purse-snatcher. The suspect didn't get very far before the bystander tackled him.
"It wasn't even a block," said store employee Jack Padia. "It was, like, 20 steps."
Officers arrested Countryman, a Whatcom County resident, and booked him into jail on suspicion of robbery in the second degree. According to police, he confessed to stealing the purse so he could "get money to buy pot."