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Purse snatcher ain't too bright...

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September 13, 2006

Thomasville-  After a Thomasville woman's purse was stolen with her cell phone inside, her son decided to try to track down the thief. 

He called the stolen phone, the thief answered, and the son offered him $100 to return the stolen things. Ready for this? The crook agreed. So they set up a meeting, and guess what happened?

Moday night, Margaret Titus' purse and cell phone were taken from her car parked on East Jackson Street. "I came home and like a typical mom I was ranting and raving about having lost everything and a business trip coming up and no ID's," said Margaret Titus, purse snatching victim.

While she was filing a police report, her son Joe and his two friends, got an idea, they went into the yard and called her cell phone. "They struck up a conversation with this person, by I guess sheer teenage Tom Foolery, they got him to talk," said Titus.

Without Titus' knowledge, the boys decided to meet the thief here in front of the Westen YMCA. They agreed on a one hundred dollar price for the purse. When the boys went to get the money, a plan sprang into action.

"I'm very amazed that the police department didn't just dismiss two teenagers saying oh we can get the purse back by negotiating with the crook," said Titus. 

Using the young men, Thomasville Police set up a sting. "They gave the kids marked money, the kids got back on the cell phone, talked to the crook again, agreed to buy the purse back at a designated spot," said Titus.

They met the thief again at the Westen YMCA and made sure they got Titus' debit and credit cards. "They said 'No, you got to put the cell phone in there, too,'" said Titus. 

Just as the exchange went down, the thief spotted police. Titus said, "From that point police came out from every point on the compass and arrested him."

Twenty-eight year old Anthony Rhodes is now in the Thomas County Jail. Titus can't thank her son and his friends enough for returning a precious gift, her purse.

"It was a gift from a 97 year old friend who recently died and I didn't want to think about Nana's purse being in a ditch somewhere," said Titus.

It saved Titus endless hours of grief and trouble and all she lost was a driver's license, a credit card, and $50.

Thomasville Police say they couldn't have made the arrest without help from the young men, but they say it's really not a good idea to take justice into your own hands.

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