updated 12/21/2006 8:16:24 PM ET 2006-12-22T01:16:24

They are the purse pursuers, the handbag heroes. Police said Thursday they are looking for a trio of women who bagged a fleeing fugitive, armed only with their purses.

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The plot: The man, who was wanted on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting three police officers, was being chased by police across a bridge in Worcester, central England on Dec. 14.

Uniformed and plain-clothed officers had been chasing the man, whom they had been trying to trace for three months, but were unable to catch him.

Closed-circuit TV captured one woman bravely blocking the sidewalk, forcing the fugitive to run into the road, while a second lambasted him with her purse. The third joined in, forcing the man into the arms of a nearby van driver, who held him until police arrived.

“There they were, all minding their own business, when they realized simultaneously that action needed to be taken,” said Richard Bull, spokesman for West Mercia Police.

“They didn’t know one another, but they all thought the same thing.”

“They surprised the man, but also demoralized him — after all, the world and his wife were already after him,” Bull added.

He said police do not encourage citizens to apprehend suspects, who can turn nasty.

“But we admire greatly what they have done.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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