Rita Eckert, the wife of the Belleville mayor, was in the process of closing her flower shop Sunday evening, locking the work van and loading up her personal van when 4 people walked by. One of them reached into her van and grabbed her purse.
"She yelled, ‘what are you doing!’”
They were stealing her purse. She chased them between buildings, around the corner, down a few blocks, out to the Square and beyond.
“I went waving may hands like this,” she demonstrated.
She was also calling her husband.
This is so great and awesome! She was running after 4 guys and calling for help.
"Passersby from Waterloo saw her waving and the suspect’s running. They started tracking the suspects and called 911.
The mayor was nearby, just leaving Mariachi’s restaurant.
“I said, ‘which way are you going?” Mayor Mark Eckert said, recalling the phone conversation with his wife. “She said, ‘they’re right now going south of the Square.’ I was coming right at them. I looked over a block and saw them, saw 3 of the 4, running.”
Police said they caught Childress with Mrs. Eckert’s credit cards and driver’s license in his pocket; officers found her purse the next day, not too far away.
“I’m very proud of her. It was risky,” Mayor Eckert said.
Risky but also brave and admirable. I'd bet lots of us daydream about doing the same thing should we be caught in a similar situation. No? you haven't?
As of this morning the purse thief was still in the St. Clair County jail.