June 9, 2004 – An off-duty cop went out for a jog. On his way home he spotted a fleeing man with what appeared to be a stolen purse. The cop hops out of his car, runs down the suspect and recovers the purse.
All in the day of a life of a peace officer?
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said yes, two days after he came to the rescue of a tourist in St. Croix.
Lewis said he planned to meet the visitor whose V.I. vacation was almost marred by crime.
The incident took place on Sunday. Lewis said, "I was just returning from my usual run, my exercise, on my way home in my private vehicle. I happened to pass and observe this individual running, apparently he had just snatched a purse from one of our visitors to the island."
Lewis said his instincts as a cop kicked in and he gave chase. While he managed to recover the purse, the fleeing suspect got away. "Hopefully, in very short order we'll locate that individual and the law will take its course," he said on Tuesday.
The purse, returned to the visitor, had most of its contents intact, including more than $300 in cash and a digital camera, according to Territorial Police Chief Novelle Francis.
Lewis credited his success to his commitment to regular exercise. "One of the things that I've been continuously saying and trying to encourage in my officers — that you never know what the situation might be — and it behooves them to ensure they keep themselves in some form of physical fitness," Lewis said.
And while he did not know who would benefit from his actions at the time, Lewis said he now has spoken on the phone with the visitor who had her purse returned. They are planning to exchange greetings on Wednesday morning.
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