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Purse-snatching victim praying for suspect after violent attack at Okeechobee McDonald's

Posted at 7:10 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 05:18:48-05

A 76-year-old grandmother is recovering at home after fighting back and chasing down the man who stole her handbag.

The victim, Janice Allen, spent two days in the hospital after being knocked down and nearly run over outside a McDonald's in Okeechobee.

"This was all swollen and it's still swollen in my foot," said Allen, as she winced in pain while trying to take off her slipper.

Allen's arms are black and blue, and she says she suffered a blood drop on her brain.

"I have no broken bones, but I'm badly bruised," she said.

Allen was sitting in a booth with her friend at the McDonald's on 70 East in Okeechobee Thursday night. The two were having dinner after spending several hours at their church helping decorate for Christmas.

"We always have a Happy Meal, which I didn't get to finish by the way," Allen said.

Allen's dinner was interrupted when a man, who was captured on surveillance cameras, snuck up behind her and stole her handbag, but the grandmother fought back.

"Well I just slid out the booth and ran after him and he started to close the door and I yanked the handle with my left hand," she said.

Police say 50-year-old Charles Stratton was behind the wheel. As he was backing up to get away, Allen was knocked to the ground. She smacked her head on the concrete and she says everything went black.

"I really thought the worst, but I'm grateful to the Lord that she's not hurt any worse than what she has," said Bill Allen, Janice's husband.

Police released the surveillance video and tips came flooding in. Stratton turned himself in over the weekend, and police said he admitted he needed the money for crack.

"My daughter, it was her purse. All I had in it was my phone, charge cards and $4. He didn't get anything but $4, so it's amazing anybody would even do something like that," Allen said.

The couple is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and they're down in Florida for the season. Allen is still awaiting the results from her MRI. She said she is not angry, but she is praying for Stratton.

"I pray that his heart will be softened so he can find the Lord, whether he goes to prison or whatever happens to him," Allen said.

Stratton is now facing a long list of charges including robbery and grand theft.