HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – Hialeah police have released surveillance video of a man who dragged a woman across a shopping center sidewalk as he stole her purse.

It happened Sunday, just before noon at 4950 W 12th Avenue.

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Watch MaryAnn Martinez’s report, click here.

The 65-year-old woman was talking on the phone when the man came up to her, grabbed her purse and then knocked her to the ground. The woman struggled and refused to let go as he dragged her several feet before she lost her grip.

People who work in the shopping center said they saw the thief scoping out the place and looking for a victim.

“We have a mom. We have a grandma. It could have happened to my mom. It will happen to our mom. Our mom is 82-years-old. She’s here every morning. They imagine, they think there’s money. It’s a miracle it hasn’t happened to our mom,” said Humberto Hernandez, a business owner in the shopping center.

After the tug-of-war, the purse-snatcher in a red polo, ran towards a dark colored car, while the woman struggled to get back up.

Police said the thief drove off in a newer model 4-Door Gray Nissan Sentra.

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Business owners turned over their surveillance video to police, unsettled by what happened.

“We need more police presence here. There’s nasty people around here. We’re trying to weed them out little by little. It’s a shame that it had to come to this,” said Hernandez.

The victim suffered some bruises but is okay.

Police believe the purse thief will strike again if he’s not caught.

Anyone who can help police identify the man is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

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