Garden Grove : Police Watch Purse Being Snatched; 2 Held

Police watched a man reach from a car and grab a woman's purse as she walked across a shopping center parking lot, then arrested two suspects after a brief chase, authorities said Friday.

A team of four undercover officers had been watching the lot for 2 days before the incident, a spokesman said. The lot has been plagued by strong-arm robberies this year.

Arrested Thursday night near the shopping center in the 13000 block of Brookhurst Street were Hai Van Le of Huntington Beach and Roan Van Tran of Garden Grove, both 18.

In the purse snatching, police said, one man was driving as the other reached out the passenger's window and grabbed the purse of the woman, who was returning to her car after shopping, investigator David Kibler said. The woman was not injured, he said.

The men, who were being held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, were arrested in a residential area nearby shortly after they fled the parking lot, officers said.

"We've had probably 15 to 20" strong-arm robberies "since the beginning of the year, and they seem to target this particular location," Kibler said.

Police said many of the robberies have involved thieves who took purses or gold jewelry from female victims.

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