Elderly metro woman recovers after fighting off purse snatcher

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- An 84-year-old woman who fought off a purse snatcher at Prairie Village Shoppes Friday afternoon is recovering and recounting the ordeal.

Fern White says her attacker was backed into a parking spot when she pulled up beside him. So when she opened her door and he opened his, she was trapped in between, and in for the fight of her life.

She says first he sprayed her eyes with a chemical, or perhaps compressed air.

Then he tried to grab her purse, but she hung on, the 85 pound woman being flung to the ground.

"I just hung on, he was going to have take me if he took the purse," White said.

She screamed and got the attention of a mall employee taking out the trash. Finally the man gave up, leaving a dazed White lying on the ground.

"I worked all my life and I don’t know why they can’t find some sort of job to keep from hurting old women like me,” White said.

"It’s an easy target I guess, but it’s really unfortunate he felt he needed to prey on somebody like her,” Ben Zigrah, the employee who came to her aid, said.

Police say they are looking for a black male with long curly hair, about 5’ 9", heavyset, and about 40 years old.

He was driving an early 2000s four-door Silver Chevy Cavalier.

White said she was at the mall looking for a wedding dress for her granddaughter's wedding. She returned to Prarie Village Shoppes Monday to finally get the dress and thank Zigrah for his help.

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