Handbag Bandit Busted in Washington State

FRESNO, Calif.

Dubbed the "handbag bandit," Andrew Boydstun was named the prime suspect in a string of purse thefts dating back to March of 2011. But, he has evaded police ever since. Action News followed the story for weeks.

Right now, Boydstun is sitting in the King County jail up in Washington State. He faces a number of charges there, including fraud and stolen property. Valley officials say they have plenty more to add to that list, including a case we've just learned about out of Tulare County.

Surveillance footage captured last March inside River Park's PF Chang's shows a man walk through the door, and then disappear moments later. Fresno Police say the man is Andrew Boydstun and that he got away with the hostesses' purse.

After Action News aired the footage, several other restaurant employees came forward, claiming the same man stole from them as well.

Briana Verderber said, "I was in the front of the restaurant. He was in the back, and took my purse out of the locker."

Briana Verderber works at Fresno's Cheesecake Factory. That's where she says Boydstun took her wallet, as well as a co-worker's.

Verderber said, "45 dollars, all my credit cards, um debit card, gas card, medical insurance card, all that stuff." Fresno Police tied at least two similar burglaries to Boydstun. Clovis Police added another seven. Detectives figured out where he lived, but couldn't track him down.

Lt. Don Gross with the Fresno Police Department said, "We believed he was down in the Tulare County area, in addition we had looked for him in the city of Fresno, but he went off the grid as far as we could tell."

That all changed about two months ago, when Boydstun was booked into Washington State's King County Jail on drug, theft, and hit and run charges.

In addition to facing additional charges for the purse thefts, Action News has learned, Boydstun is scheduled to be extradited to Tulare County for another hit and run case.

Briana Verderber said, "Justice is served and I hope it doesn't happen again."

Lt. Gross said, "It's good to see he was taken into custody there so that he's not victimizing folks in Washington as well as here in California."

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