OKC Police Arrest Purse Snatching Suspect

Thursday, January 8th 2015, 5:09 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City Police have arrested a purse snatching suspect wanted in at least half dozen thefts in the metro.

The suspect allegedly targeted customers shopping at area Walmarts.

The victims didn't get a good look at the suspect; some didn't see him at all, until his arrest.

"I'm very glad he is caught, he deserves it. No one should be doing things like that to people," said Teresa Smith.

She has yet to replace her credit cards, driver's license, and social security card stolen with her purse, last week.

Smith said she was perusing an aisle of the Walmart near I-240 and Santa Fe on December 31st. She recalled only turning her back on the purse sitting in the child seat of her shopping cart for only a second.

"I turned around and my purse was gone, just like that," said Smith.

Police said Steven Wilbanks snatched Smith's purse and ran.

Investigators believe he is responsible for at least 5 purse thefts in the last month at Walmarts around the city.

In every case, the victims left their purses unattended.

“Only two victims caught a glance of the man running away with their purse, somebody in a parking lot spotted the vehicle that the suspect jumped into as he was leaving," said Master Sergeant Gary Knight.

The witness was able to take down the suspect's tag number.

With that information and evidence found in surveillance images, police obtained an arrest warrant for Wilbanks.

Police have since tied him to a case in Moore.

Turned out, he also had a criminal record that included convictions for assault with a dangerous weapon and first degree burglary.

Right now, police are also looking at the possibility of Wilbanks being connected to a number of other thefts in the metro.

Wilbanks is being held in the Oklahoma County Jail.