Visalia purse robber quickly found by police

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Visalia Police say a woman was randomly robbed last night.It happened just before 10 Sunday night in a neighborhood near Fairview Park.

Visalia Police say two people were just sitting and talking in a car when the suspect opened the passenger door and demanded a woman's purse.

At first, she refused, but finally, the suspect grabbed it and ran.

Once police showed up, it didn't take long for them to find the purse in a canal bank.

They then found the suspect, Michael Soto, in the area.

Police say both people in the car gave a good description of him.

"We brought the victim to his location where she identified the suspect as the perpetrator of this crime," said Visalia Police Sgt. Damon Maurice.

Visalia Police also shared a photo of Soto in the back of a patrol car.

They say he did not have a weapon, and thankfully, no one was hurt.

Nothing was missing from the woman's purse.

"Don't put yourself in a dangerous situation, or more dangerous situation than it has to be," Maurice said. "If confronted in that kind of manner, just comply with the suspect and let us respond, hopefully, capture the suspect and get your property back for you."

The recently released Visalia Police annual report shows there was an 18 percent increase in robberies from 2016 to 2017.

Theft was also up, but burglaries were down.
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