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September 29, 2023

Arrests made in MH Safeway purse snatchings

Police arrested a Gilroyan and another man in connection with
two purse snatching incidents in Morgan Hill earlier this month and
last month.
Police arrested a Gilroyan and another man in connection with two purse snatching incidents in Morgan Hill earlier this month and last month.

The two men were arrested in San Jose, one Thursday morning and another Friday night, according to Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Jerry Neumayer. Gilroyan Lewis Flores, 42, and San Jose resident Richard Ornelas, 22, were arrested late last week.

About 6 p.m. Aug. 8, a male approached a 39-year-old woman from behind as she was pushing a cart entering the store, police said. The suspect grabbed her purse, which was in the cart, and ran into an awaiting vehicle occupied by a driver and a passenger.

Earlier, at about 1 p.m. July 8, a man ran up to a 72-year-old woman from behind as she was walking from East Dunne Avenue Safeway store to her car.

The man grabbed her purse and fled into an awaiting vehicle containing a driver, and police later determined the vehicle had been stolen from the San Jose area.

Local police were working with other law enforcement agencies in the region where similar incidents have occurred. The police believed that the same men were responsible for both incidents. The arrested men’s names have not yet been released. One was on parole and the other was on probation. Both have been booked into county jail. There’s possibly a third suspect, but Neumayer said the police did not yet have enough information on who that might be.

The purse snatchings are considered by police to be separate incidents from the trio of violent assaults that occurred in March. In those incidents, an unknown man followed women as they were leaving the stores and entered or tried to enter the back seat of their cars as the women got into the driver’s seat. During one of the crimes, the man used a stun gun to electrically shock the woman, who he also hit at least once with his fists.

The stores’ corporate officials have responded to the series of crimes by employing more private security guards who patrol the interior and parking lots at both stores. They have also installed more video surveillance cameras both inside and outside the stores, according to Safeway spokeswoman Susan Houghton.

Natalie Everett
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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