(AP) Great-grandmother 1, would-be robber 0. Bernie Garcia at first thought the young man who approached her asking for money while she gassed up her car seemed like a sweet guy.
But when the 83-year-old woman told him Wednesday that she'd just spent all her spare change on gas and had none to give him, he grabbed her purse.
"But I had it wrapped around my wrist twice," Garcia said, and he was unable to pull it away.
She fought back, spraying his shirt with a bit of gasoline from the nozzle she still had in her hand. Both of them kept hold of the purse, and he pulled her to the ground and dragged her a short distance until another man confronted him.
The second man demanded, "Turn her loose, you something something," Garcia said.
The man jumped into a nearby vehicle and fled.
A witness got the license plate number, and three minutes later, police spotted it on U.S. 84-285 and stopped the car _ which was reported stolen from Espanola, said Santa Fe Deputy Police Chief Aric Wheeler.
Garcia and an eyewitness identified one of the men inside as the attacker. He and two other men in the car were charged with robbery and conspiracy.
"They got caught and I'm so glad," Garcia said.
She said she felt fine after the attack, and police say she declined medical attention at the scene. But when she got home, she said, she felt faint and went to bed and woke up Thursday very sore. Her son, a former firefighter, checked her out and found no broken bones.
"My son said, 'Why didn't you just give (the purse) up?'" Garcia said. "'Hell no,' I told him. That was my purse. I was fighting for what was mine."
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com
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