KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "I've done this thousands of times - stopped for a cup of coffee after work, and never, ever had a problem," said Connie McGee.
McGee said that changed Monday evening after leaving the Weigel's on Cedar Lane in North Knoxville.
"Came out, went to get in my car and someone just ran up - I had my pocketbook, my purse, on my arm - and pulled with such force that it pulled me to the ground," she said.
McGee screamed for help. That's when store employee Derek Marsh and another man chased after the purse snatcher, while a woman in a car made sure McGee was okay.
"I tried to cut him off behind the building, but he'd actually gone the other way," said Marsh.
Marsh said he was outside sweeping before it all happened, and noticed the man then.
"He was standing right next to the pay phone, but he was on his cell phone pacing back and forth for awhile. I didn't pay him no mind because we get people standing out there a lot, but once it happened I was like 'Oh, that must have been that little young kid!'" said Marsh.
McGee said she's grateful to everyone who tried to help.
"They were three people that I didn't know - and they really helped out and did everything they could," she said.
She lost more than just cash: along with her license, he got her cell phone, credit cards, social security card and personal items like pictures and notes. Most of all, McGee said he stole her sense of security.
"It was traumatic, to say the least! So today I'm out trying to reconstruct my life," she said, as she headed inside to get a new license.
Marsh said the purse snatcher was wearing jeans and a beige coat with a dark colored beanie hat. He looked to be between 18 and 21 years old.
He said he and the other customer chased him for about a block before losing him in the dark.