Keesler nurse thwarts robbery of elderly lady

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Don't mess with an Air Force nurse.

That may be what a purse-snatcher thought after 2nd Lt. Stacy Thomas and a friend thwarted an attempted theft May 24 in the William Carey University campus parking lot near here.

Thomas, an 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron surgical inpatient unit clinical nurse, said that she and her friend had just finished registering for nursing classes at the university when they noticed an elderly woman began hitting a man.

"Apparently, he had taken her purse from her car," Thomas said. "We learned that the assailant had some type of siren on his car. He used it to 'pull her over' as she drove on Highway 67. She was wise to pull into the William Carey parking lot. After she stopped, he came over and told her that her tire was wobbling. When she got out of her car to check the tire, he reached in and grabbed her purse. She chased him back to his car and began hitting him. We learned later that she had retired from the Army.

"We got her purse and returned it to her," Thomas said. "The guy didn't resist, although he initially tried to pull away. We had taken pictures of him and his license plate. That's when he realized he was caught. My friend stayed with him and I remained with the woman while we waited for the police to arrive."

The assailant, Jason Lyle Thomas, who is no relation to the lieutenant, was charged with "strong-arm robbery" and taken to the Harrison County jail. It never occurred to the lieutenant that the purse snatcher might have been armed until the police arrived.

Thomas said the dean of William Carey awarded both her and her friend a $500 book scholarship for their service to the community.

The lieutenant said she came to the woman's aid because she believed anyone in a similar situation would do the same.