Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said a teenager shoved a 68-year-old woman around 2:10 p.m. Saturday in a Santa Cruz parking lot and fled with two other people in a small, red car, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Friday.
Surveillance images from the crime were released to the public this week and posted on Facebook, where they were seen by the teenager's mother.
The mother drove to the boy's father's home in San Jose, where she picked up her son and took him to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
"The power of social media and strong parenting came through on this one," Clark said.
The suspect, whose name was not released due to his age, was turned over to Santa Cruz police and arrested on a robbery charge.
Clark said police obtained a "full confession" from the teenager, who allegedly told police he had been high on marijuana at the time of the incident and was trying to get money to purchase more of the drug.
"He stole the purse with the intent of using any money to purchase more marijuana," Clark said.