Kevin Smith of Gloucester is a man who wears many hats, and last week he added crime stopper to his resume.
Smith is the pastor at Wayland Baptist Church in Mathews, an at-large member of the Gloucester County School Board, and he works full-time as the chief security officer at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. He also became a crime stopper on Jan. 29 when he detained an alleged purse snatcher at the Food Lion across from the hospital.
Smith said he had just been through the grocery checkout at about 5 p.m. when a woman yelling that someone had snatched her purse got his attention. He turned and saw a man running. “He was coming through like a madman, telling people to get out of the way,” Smith recalled.
“Basic instinct just kicked in. I saw he had one hand free and the purse in the other. I grabbed him and held him in a bear hug,” said Smith, who checked to see if the man was armed before taking action. The suspect was kicking and screaming for Smith to let him go, Smith said, and two other customers came over to assist.
“It took a lot of strength to hold him. I said let’s put him on his face,” Smith said, and the three men took him to the floor. Smith said the suspect quieted down and stopped struggling after he was pinned with his hands behind his back. One of the men left and the other stayed to help Smith until a sheriff’s deputy arrived to take the suspect into custody.