HOBART | A Gary man said he went shopping for the right victim before snatching a purse from a woman's car at the mall, police said.
Corey Alonzo Straughter, 24, was charged Saturday with theft, a class D felony, through Lake Superior Court.
He reportedly told police he needed money to pay his rent.
Straughter was apprehended by police Friday afternoon after about 20 people came to the aid of the woman whose purse was taken from the passenger side of her seat, police Detective Sgt. Jeremy Ogden said.
The Hobart woman told police she had gotten into her car, which was parked outside Macy's at Westfield Southlake Mall, when a man opened her passenger door and snatched her purse, Ogden said.
The woman screamed and a number of people came to her aid, chasing the suspect across U.S. 30 and advising police of his whereabouts on cellphones, Ogden said.
The suspect was found hiding under a car in a parking lot outside Old Navy, Ogden said.
The woman's purse and contents were recovered, Ogden said.
Straughter told police he had been outside in Macy's parking lot looking for just the right individual to rob when he spotted his victim.