Good Samaritans foil attempted purse theft in Bonita Springs

Photo via Priscilla Simmons.

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. What should’ve been a normal day of grocery shopping turned out to be anything but.

Priscilla Simmons was shopping alone at the Publix at the corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road on Wednesday when 49-year-old John Terino swiped her purse.

John Terino. Photo via the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

“When I looked up, this guy had just moved past my cart and was stuffing my purse under his shirt, and I thought ‘Oh my gosh,'” she said.

Simmons immediately ran after him, screaming that Terino had her purse.

Scott Bernier, a retired police lieutenant from Massachusetts, heard the commotion and tried to grab him in the parking lot.

“He ran right into me,” he said. “I grabbed him by the shirt, the shirt ripped off his body, and he fell to the ground. He got up and started running again and I chased him.”

Three or four men then began to chase Terino, Simmons said. When they caught up to him, they threw him to ground and restrained him until deputies arrived.

“I was glad to be at the right place at the right time,” Bernier said.

Deputies arrested Terino and returned Simmons’ purse.

He was released on a $10,000 bond Thursday and is facing grand theft charges.


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