Roommate recalls Good Samaritan trying to stop purse snatchers on Milwaukee's East Side

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by Priscilla Luong

MILWAUKEE-- Dane Mantia still remembers hearing two women crying for help.

"I think I heard something about not taking my purse and screaming," he recalled, "it just sounded like something very bad happening outside."

Mantia says his roommate tried to help the women when two suspects snatched their purse Saturday night.  Police say Mantia's roommate chased the suspects from this area-- near Cass and Pleasant., to Cass and Lyon outside their home.

"He came out the back door and ran over," said Mantia, "and by the time I got out, he was already lying here with a wound."

One suspect shot Mantia's roommate in the stomach when he tried to tackle them. 

Wes Manko is the owner of Defenseworks in Whitefish Bay.  Manko says there are ways to disarm a purse snatcher, but these maneuvers take practice.  He suggests good samaritans stay out of the fight, and call 911. 

Manko also says women who believe they could become purse snatching target on a Saturday night bar crawl, to carry what he calls-- a drop purse.

"Take a purse and keep stuff in there that you do not consider valuable," Manko explained.

He advises keeping valuables in a money belt-- or something hidden from view.  Manko also emphasizes self-defense training isn't always about winning a physical fight.

"Strength tactics are not as important as attitude, height doesn't matter, it's attitude," he said.

As milwaukee police search for the two suspects-- mantia says purse snatchings are rare in his East Side neighborhood.

"Normally, I feel very safe," said Mantia.

He says his roommate is expected to make a full recovery.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Mantia.

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