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Two men charged after purse snatching victim and boyfriend fight back
A green handbag, above, was the focus of a battle between its owner, Monique LeClair, 20, her boyfriend, Travis Hardy, 26, and a man who snatched it Thursday morning as the couple were walking at Hanover and Chestnut streets near the Hanover Street Chophouse restaurant in Manchester. LeClair said she does not regret struggling with the thief to get her purse back even though she suffered an ankle injury in the incident. (PAT GROSSMITH/Union Leader)
"I was hanging out the side of the door trying to get my purse back, and he (the driver) started punching me in the head," said LeClair, a petite woman who speaks softly. "I kept screaming, 'Give it back! Give it back!'"
LeClair and Hardy were walking together when they stopped to talk to a friend. LeClair said she noticed a silver van pass by, turn around and head back toward them. She said a man jumped out of the van and grabbed her lime green leather purse.
So when the man snatched her purse, she didn't hesitate. Neither did Hardy, who ran to the driver's side of the van, but the door was locked. He tried unsuccessfully to break the window with his elbow, but then went to help LeClair when he saw the driver punching her.
LeClair said she was hanging out the door when the driver pulled away and the door hit a street sign. The door bounced back and hit her in the ankle and knocked both her and Hardy to the ground. Hardy said he got a cut on a foot.
Two Manchester police officers were about a block away working a construction detail at Pine and Chestnut streets when they heard the commotion.
Officer Stephen Flynn saw the van leaving and called in a description of it to headquarters.
Patrol Officer Tyler Shaw spotted the van at Bridge and Chestnut streets and stopped it.
Valentine is charged with robbery, conduct after an accident and reckless conduct. Lemite is charged with robbery.
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