Couple uses a replica handgun to steal woman’s purse; arrested in La Mesa

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A San Diego man and woman were both behind bars Saturday for allegedly stealing a woman’s purse using a replica handgun outside a La Mesa grocery store, and a similar holdup at the Fashion Valley Mall.

Brian Quinn Coats, 22, and Reynisha Ann Bransford, 23, were arrested at Friars and Frazee roads after La Mesa and San Diego police stopped their white crossover SUV with the license plate number taken down by the victims, La Mesa Sgt. Katy Lynch. Officers found property stolen from the victims and the replica revolver allegedly used in the holdups.

The arrests came shortly after Coats allegedly robbed a woman of her purse in the parking lot of the Vons grocery store at 5630 Lake Murray Blvd. using the fake gun around 11 p.m. Friday, according to the sergeant. Bransford was behind the wheel of the getaway vehicle, Lynch said.

Coats and Bransford were also suspected in a similar robbery at the Fashion Valley Mall about two and a half hours earlier, Lynch said.

The victims were able to obtain the license plate on the suspects’ vehicle and it was broadcast to surrounding law enforcement agencies, she said. The SUV was spotted on Interstate 8 near the Interstate 15 interchange and was stopped shortly after at Friars and Frazee roads.

Bransford and Coats were both booked into jail on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, according to Lynch and jail records.

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