Bystanders thwart Salem purse snatcher

SALEM – Police are crediting two alert young men with apprehending a robbery suspect in downtown Friday night.

Michael P. Souers Jr., 26, of 760 E. Pershing St., #100, is in the Columbiana County jail charged with felony theft, according to Lt. Dave Casto.

He said that was the most serious charge police could level against him because there was no weapon or threat made.

Casto explained that at about 6:30 p.m., as Salem Community Theatre patrons were heading into the theater, two men took off running from the front of the theater.

One fled south on South Lundy Avenue and the other ran east on East State Street with the purse of a 90-year-old woman.

Casto said apparently the yelling of the people at the theater caught the attention of a group in front of the East State Street Tattoo.

“That’s what got the attention of the people at the tattoo shop,” Casto said, explaining that two men there took off after the purse-snatcher catching up with him in the parking lot behind Troll’s Jewelry.

The two men who apprehended Souers were Will Shutler, 23, and Sheldon Brownfield, 19, both of Salem.

“They stopped him and had him detained until we got there,” Casto said. “They told him to get on the ground until we got there.”

Souers reportedly admitted to the theft, but Casto said he refused to identify his partner.

Casto noted the other person fled in the direction of the 700 block of East Pershing Street.

Casto said the victim is OK but was shaken up by the incident, and her purse was returned to her.