A La Habra man and reputed gang member allegedly broke into cars in church parking lots and robbed middle-aged women and seniors of their purses in Orange County. In one case, Fullerton police said Alejandro Sanchez Montes walked up to an 82-year-old woman and held his hand out as if to shake hands. When she offered her hand, the 26-year-old allegedly knocked her down, took her purse and fled in a waiting vehicle. She suffered scrapes and bruises in the Sept. 23 encounter at a Fullerton church parking lot. But officers said she jotted down a partial license plate number for the getaway car in the margin of her Bible. Three days later, she saw a police chase of robbery suspects on TV, recognized one of the men and called police. Montes is being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange without bail because of a probation hold. The armed robberies happened in Fullerton, Huntington Beach, La Habra and Santa Ana. Fullerton police spokeswoman Sgt. Linda King said a 62-year-old woman had her purse snatched on Aug. 27 in Santa Ana, a 44-year-old woman was robbed Sept. 9 in a Fullerton church parking lot and a 61-year-old woman fell prey to a purse-snatcher on Sept. 15 in Huntington Beach. The 82-year-old victim was robbed Sept. 23 in Fullerton and a fifth robbery is alleged on Sept. 25 but the criminal complaint did not give the age of the victim or where the incident took place. “He’s not picking on young ones,” King said. The car burglaries occurred Sept. 19 and 24. King said vehicles in a church parking lot on Brea Boulevard were broken into. Fullerton police arrested Montes and Jorge Diaz on Sept. 26 after a chase that ended when their silver Dodge Magnum ran a red light and hit three cars. An off-duty reserve officer with Fullerton police was driving one of the cars hit. King said Diaz, 36, of La Habra was booked on suspicion of parole violation and sent to Chino State Prison. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityThe woman declined to be interviewed on Friday. “I’m just trying to get over it. It’s still too new in my mind,” she said. Montes was scheduled to appear Friday at the North Justice Center in Fullerton for a pretrial hearing. He pleaded not guilty Sept. 28 to 21 charges including robbery, street terrorism, elder abuse, vehicle burglaries, reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance, fraudulent use of an access card and receiving stolen property, according to Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors also allege that Montes used a firearm during one of the robberies, that he committed the crimes for the benefit, and at the direction, of the Fullerton Tokers/Ward Street gang, and that he inflicted great bodily injury on a woman while driving recklessly.