Good Samaritan catches alleged purse thief

By Dean Wright - [email protected]

GALLIPOLIS — An individual who allegedly attempted to steal a purse in the Walmart parking lot on Eastern Avenue last weekend was subdued and held by a good Samaritan until Gallipolis police arrived to take the suspect into custody.

According to police reports, officers arrived on scene around 12:40 p.m. Upon arrival, officers noted that Jason McCarty, 30, of Vinton, had pinned Ryan Donohue, 21, of Point Pleasant, against a vehicle and the pair were allegedly struggling and shouting at one another. A crowd had gathered around the incident.

Officers approached both individuals and acquired control of Donohue, who at the time was reportedly wearing a heavy coat. Officers moved McCarty from the suspect and gave him a verbal command to step back. Reports said McCarty had allegedly been carrying at pistol holstered at his side.

After officers placed Donohue into investigative attention, they allegedly found a can of pepper spray on his person.

According to the reports, Betty Landers, 78, was placing groceries she just purchased in the trunk of her sister’s vehicle. The sister was waiting in the driver’s seat. Landers did not see the suspect allegedly take the purse from the passenger seat where it was placed as groceries were being loaded. She reportedly heard her sister shout and looked up to allegedly see Donohue take off running, purse in hand, before calling for help.

Reports say McCarty was walking into Walmart and heard Landers shouting before giving chase. He allegedly caught up to Donohue toward the grocery entrance of Walmart. Donohue allegedly sprayed McCarty in the face with pepper spray. McCarty held the suspect until police arrived.

According to reports, Donohue has an active warrant outside of Gallipolis. He is currently being held in Jackson County on that warrant.

Reports say Landers’ purse contained a large amount of money, as well as personal checks and a debit card. She did not require medical attention.

According to Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer, the department will recommend theft charges be filed against Donohue by the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to court records, Donohue has a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 17. The action in question allegedly violates section 2931.02A1 of the Ohio Revised Code and is a potential first-degree misdemeanor crime.

Boyer recommended that all holiday shoppers remain aware of their possessions and environment, especially during the winter season.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright

[email protected]