$25,000 cash stolen in purse snatching - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

$25,000 cash stolen in purse snatching

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A Lake Charles woman is asking for your help finding the man who stole $25,000 in cash she withdrew from a local bank. The man apparently followed her from Lake Charles to Sulphur where he grabbed her purse.

She's offering a reward for information that brings the man to justice. February 19th Diana Villarreal closed her account at the Capital One Bank at Nelson and Country Club Roads in Lake Charles.  She took the entire amount, actually, she say, more than $25,000 in cash.

Villarreal then drove to her workplace on Beglis Parkway in Sulphur, where a man who apparently followed her from Lake Charles met her at the door.

"He kind of lunged at me. I had my purse right here hanging and my brief case. My purse was on the outside and the brief case was on the inside and he just snatched my purse and pulled me like this   and just took off running through those trees over there," she said.

Sulphur Police are investigating and say the man sped off in a green van similar to this one driven by a second man.

The suspect was wearing coveralls similar to those Villarreal wears and it was a Coach purse.
Her co-worker Marti Cochran saw it happen.

"I was sitting at my desk and I have a monitor that  I can see everything that happens at the front door and I saw Ms. Diana pull in and then a green van pulled in under the awning and  passed Ms. Diana," said Cochran.

Villarreal says the van headed east on I-10 and exited after the I-10 bridge. They found the purse and the Nomex suit thrown out of the car right here just before you get to the  appears the suspects threw the purse and the jumpsuit out the car, right here before the Lake Charles Civic Center and it's right there that the trail runs cold.

Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats urges anyone who saw anything that might help solve the case to call.

"If they've seen this vehicle dump some evidence near the Lake Charles Civic Center, or if they happen to know somebody that has acquired a large amount of money and has been spending money over the last couple of weeks," said Coats.

Villarreal is devastated to have lost what took her more than ten years to save.

"It was my little savings account for if, you know, something catastrophic were to happen. And so it's going to be difficult .  It's going to be very difficult to recover from that," said Villarreal.

Capital One spokesman, Steve Thorpe, in New Orleans, says they are working with law enforcement and can't discuss it because it's under investigation.

Villarreal is offering a $1000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

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