Video shows suspect’s violent mugging of elderly woman

ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A family is pleading for anyone with information to come forward after new video shows a man throw a 78-year-old woman to the ground as he steals her purse.

The video shows this scary situation that sent an elderly woman to the hospital.

Karen Lujan, 78, was pushing her cart outside Walmart in Espanola on Wednesday morning of last week when a man lunged at her, grabbed her purse and ran, leaving her in the middle of the road.

“To see how she was so… that she was swung around that way really bothered us, so we wanted to get the word out,” said Amanda Lujan, Karen’s daughter-in-law.

Espanola Police said detectives believe that same day another camera captured the same man stealing in a burglary that the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

“The characteristics along with the clothing description are very similar to our suspect in this case,” said Police Chief Matthew Vigil.

“I was sad to hear that he was out there doing more crimes,” Amanda said.

Now her family wants to know why, if police know who did it, why not arrest him?

“It takes time to investigate a crime and gather evidence to bring to a jury so we have a good conviction,” Chief Vigil said.

He said the man police are not yet naming is just a person of interest, because even with video from two thefts on the same day, the picture quality isn’t good enough.

“It doesn’t give you a very detailed view of the individual,” Chief Vigil said.

Police are looking for more witnesses to confirm who’s responsible for that violent mugging that sent Karen to the hospital.

“She’s dealing with her own illnesses right now, some major illnesses and she had barely started to go to the store on her own and lo and behold, this one time that she goes at 9 a.m. in broad daylight this happens to her,” Amanda said.

She said her mother-in-law now needs surgery, but given her health that may not be an option.

“She broke her elbow, her wrist.”

She said the recovery will be difficult.

“He basically changed her life forever.”

The family says they wish police would at least release a description of the robber so that people can be on the lookout.

On top of interviewing possible witnesses, Espanola Police said the detective on the case has been going through old Walmart surveillance video to see if the suspect had been to the store before. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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