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Theft victim who chased suspect down speaks out

Theft victim who took matters into her own hands disappointed DA downgraded charges

Only on ABC-7: NMSU Athlete fights would-be robber

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Police advise to "not put up a fight" if someone tries to rob you. But that's not what one woman did when she was the victim of a theft.

The whole incident was caught on surveillance video.

Labor Day weekend, 19-year-old Analece Reber stopped by a Las Cruces Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of bags of ice.

While walking out, a man attempted to steal her wallet. Without hesitation, she chased down the man through the parking lot.

Reber is now speaking out about her experience.

She works at a restaurant in Las Cruces and has a talent the suspect didn't know about.

Reber was a track athlete in high school and the adrenaline kicked in when the man took her wallet from under her arm. She dropped the two bags of ice she'd just bought and ran.

"The first thought that went through my head was, 'Oh crap, I'm in sandals.'"

The security cameras captured suspect Christian Sanchez and a woman walking into the store. Within minutes, cameras show Sanchez snatching Reber's wallet.

"I took off after him, I chased him down," said Reber. "I was really angry and I remember yelling as I was running.  I was saying 'Are you serious? Is this really happening to me?".

While Reber and Sanchez were struggling, cameras show people running to help her hold down Sanchez while police arrived.

"I hit him a few times and he told me 'fine, have it back'. And I asked him why and he told me, 'I'm down on my luck."

Reber said she was angry that "he would do this to someone, especially someone like me. Just some girl who was by herself."

"I know that means that I'm an easy target (but I was just angry that people do that). It's really frustrating because I work for my money. I work every single day (and I moved out and I'm just trying to get by.")

Reber recovered her wallet, but said she felt betrayed when she learned charges were downgraded against Sanchez.

"I didn't understand why. After I read the report, it seemed that they dropped them because I didn't show fear."

She added, "the people who decided that the felony charges were over-charged, they didn't see me a few minutes after it happened."

"I was a mess. I was crying and shaking and I was alone. My family wasn't there, my fiancee wasn't there. There's just this guy that robbed me and a bunch of kind strangers that helped me out."

Las Cruces police charged Sanchez with a petty misdemeanor count of larceny.

New Mexico laws says robbery means threatened use of force or violence was used.

Prosecutors said the video showed Sanchez pick-pocketed her, and did not threaten her.

"I just feel that there was no justice."


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