GASTONIA, N.C. — Detectives have arrested a man accused of stealing a woman’s purse last month in the parking lot of a gas station in Gastonia.
The crime happened around 12:40 a.m. at the QuikTrip on East Long Avenue.
According to the victim, C.J. Horton, she was babysitting her goddaughter when a man approached her asking for baby formula. As she began looking for the formula, she said the man grabbed her purse, ripped it off her shoulder and ran off.
“I felt the jerk of my purse. Luckily she was only a foot from the ground. She didn’t even wake up,” Horton said.
Horton said she works for a food delivery service, but wasn’t able to work since her purse was stolen because her phone was inside.
“Some people say phones don’t make the world go around. It made my world go around,” she said.
Horton said her friend followed the robber, but stopped when the suspect pulled a gun on him.
That suspect was later arrested, but her purse and her cell phone were never returned.
“You got to have a phone,” she said. “You got to be able to have a GPS. You gotta be able to contact people.
Horton said she’s living in her Ford Expedition and her phone was the source of her income.
“I would be able to get out of this situation, saving money. Putting it back to getting my own place again,” she said.
Horton told Channel 9 that she relied on friends to give her money for gas, but once the community heard about her situation, several stepped up to help.
According to Horton, someone gave her $300 to replace her phone, someone else gave gas and food and another person paid her phone bill.
She said she’s overwhelmed by the support that allows her to get get back on her feet.
“Having a phone changes everything for me,” she said.
Horton said her friend that ran after the suspect is also homeless.
Rev. Moses Colbert told Channel 9 the Good Samaritan came to his church for food minutes after police responded to the crime.
Colbert said the man told him what happened.
“When the person pulled the gun on him, he said ‘Hey man, I don’t want no trouble’ and he let him go,’” Colbert said.
He said he was stunned to hear that the guy who generally stays below the radar stepped up like in that way, a man he said had little to offer, but wanted badly to help.
“He literally lives in the woods and for him to do that it speaks a lot of volumes,” Colbert said.
Horton said things were so chaotic that night, she never got the chance to thank the man in person, but she hopes she will get that chance.
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