Olympia police arrested a purse-snatching suspect Wednesday after a witness fired a warning shot into the ground in an attempt to stop him.
Brenin M. Olive, 26, of Olympia, is suspected of stealing a woman’s purse at an Olympia grocery store. Police believe he also stole a man’s wallet in the same store the previous day.
Olive appeared before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price on Thursday afternoon, and the judge set bail at $5,000. He found probable cause for four criminal charges: second-degree robbery, first-degree theft, unlawful possession of a payment instrument and second-degree possession of stolen property.
The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether the witness discharged her gun lawfully.
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Court documents give the following account:
At about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Olympia police responded to reports of shots fired near the west Olympia Safeway store on Cooper Point Road. Witnesses reported that a fight had occurred, and that someone was pinned to the ground.
A female witness reported that while at Safeway, she heard a woman shout that a man had stolen her purse. The witness followed the suspect, later identified as Olive, out of the store and into the parking lot. She told Olive to stop, or she would shoot him.
The witness then fired a warning shot into the ground.
Olive stopped and was held down by several people. The witness told him that if he hadn’t stopped, she would have shot him because he assaulted an old lady.
A Safeway employee reported that he had been helping the victim in the candle aisle when he saw Olive approach them. The employee asked Olive if he needed anything, but he didn’t respond. He said that Olive then grabbed the victim’s purse and ran toward the exit.
The victim reported that Olive pushed her after taking the purse, but Olive denied touching her.
Police recovered the woman’s purse, and she verified that all of her belongings had been returned.
An officer recognized Olive as the man who stole a wallet from the same Safeway store the previous day. At about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, a male victim reported that a man had taken his wallet from his jacket pocket as he was walking out of the store. The incident was captured by video surveillance.
During an interview with police, Olive admitted to taking the man’s wallet, and said that it was still in his car. Police were able to recover the wallet.
Thirty minutes after stealing the man’s wallet, Olive reported to Thurston County Superior Court for drug court orientation. He has a pending forgery charge stemming from a December 2014 arrest.