Officers from three agencies converged on Coast Central Credit Union on Wednesday for what they thought was a bank robbery.

But it turned out to be a purse snatching that resulted in the arrest of a 24-year-old Crescent City man, said Police Chief Doug Plack.

"(The call) occurred at 4:20 p.m. and we were to respond to a report of a robbery at Coast Central Credit Union. That's how it went out," he said. "We responded with the assistance of the sheriff's department. National and state parks responded. Obviously the information relayed over the radio from dispatch was very brief."

The suspect, Joseph Aaron Ramos, told police that he had tried to withdraw $50 from his savings account to buy drugs, but was refused because he lacked identification, Plack said. Ramos had been sitting outside the bank wondering what to do when he saw a 63-year-old woman, walk toward the entrance, Plack said, adding that Ramos grabbed her purse and took off toward K Street.

A witness followed the suspect south on K Street and saw Ramos drop the purse, Plack said. Officers, thinking it was a money bag from the bank, set up a perimeter and found Ramos hiding near a boat in a backyard on Fifth Street, Plack said.

Officers arrested Ramos on suspicion of robbery.

"We did get a positive identification from numerous witnesses that he was in fact the individual that took the purse by force," Plack said. "Thank goodness the (victim) was not hurt. We were able to retrieve the items back to the victim. We were able to apprehend the suspect and we certainly couldn't have done it without the assistance of other law enforcement agencies."

Plack added that although he doesn't advise witnesses to follow a suspect when they see a crime committed, although in this case it led to Ramos' arrest.

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