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Brazen purse snatcher strikes during the day at local grocery store

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SEATTLE -- A Columbia City woman says a thief lunged at her and stole her purse after she’d just finished grocery shopping at the Trader Joe’s in West Seattle.

Pam Keeley says it happened around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday with actions so bold, she fears the thief will strike again.

“He was this close to me, grabbed my purse, and I said no!” described Keeley.

However, it was too late. The thief took off with Keeley's purse, with her wallet, phone and other valuables inside.

“I felt abandoned and kind of helpless, and I didn’t know what else to do except wait for the police to come,” said Keeley.

Keeley posted the incident on social media and news spread fast to fellow shoppers, causing people like Janna Kinney to be extra careful while other shoppers couldn’t believe this would happen in their neighborhood.

“I cannot believe it,” said fellow shopper Wendy Woldenberg. “That’s crazy. This is my Trader Joe’s, and I feel totally safe here. I do that all the time, leave my purse while I’m loading so I’m totally shocked.”

Seattle Police say they’re investigating, and this may not be the only incident.

Keeley said since her post, within the last 24 hours others have come forward with similar stories.

She and police don’t know if they’re all connected, but Keeley knows for sure everyone needs to beware of their surroundings.

The suspect vehicle has been described as a reddish color, older model SUV.