The South Gate City Council has given “courageous citizens” awards to John Gip and Sandra Hernandez for their part in helping with the capture of a suspected purse snatcher earlier this month.
The awards were presented to Gip and Hernandez “for getting involved” on Nov. 6 after 86-year-old Elizabeth Minneman’s purse was grabbed as she left the Hollydale Market. Minneman received several cuts and bruises in a brief struggle with the thief.
Hernandez, 26, who witnessed the incident, started shouting and chasing the suspect. Her screams alerted Gip, also 26, who owns the market. Gip chased the suspect for several blocks until the suspect gave the purse back.
Police Chief Ron George said: “After running out of gas and energy, the suspect threw the purse and its contents back” and ran into a house where he lived.
Gip returned the purse containing $7 and a pair of eyeglasses to Minneman. He also showed arriving police officers the house into which the suspect ran.
Police arrested Chris Dominguez, 27, on suspicion of robbery. Dominguez is to be arraigned on robbery charges Dec. 21 in Norwalk Superior Court.
Minneman was on hand Monday night during the council meeting to thank Gip and Hernandez. “I’m forever grateful,” Minneman said.
For his part, Gip said, “I just didn’t think about it. I just ran after him. Then, I got a little nervous because I started thinking, ‘this guy might have a gun and shoot me.’ But, I forgot about it and just kept on running.”