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Police Beat: Four Tacoma purse snatchings in four days

Post by Sean Robinson / The News Tribune on Oct. 22, 2011 at 11:36 am |
October 22, 2011 11:40 am

Maybe it’s random, maybe it’s a piece of string: Over four days recently, unidentified thieves snatched four purses from four Tacoma women.

Coincidence? Tacoma police wonder. Three victims were seniors who came home late. They were robbed on their doorsteps, according to police reports.

First incident – Oct. 11, 10:08 p.m., 4300 block of South J Street:

Victim, a 73-year-old woman, returns from an evening out with a friend. She opens her front door and takes four or five steps. Someone darts in behind her, snatches her purse, and runs to a small car parked nearby. The car drives away.

The woman told police the car was small and black. A witness saw the robber hiding behind a tree moments before the incident. The victim and witness described the thief as a 20-to-30-year-old black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

Second incident – Oct. 12, 1:04 a.m., 6900 block of Bridgeland Lane:

Victim, a 68-year-old woman, returns home with her husband after a visit to the Emerald Queen Casino. She notices a small car pull into the dead-end street near her home, but thinks little of it.

Victim drives into garage, doesn’t close it. She steps out of the car to help her husband. A man wearing a ski mask rushes out of the dark and grabs her purse. Ski Mask runs to the small car parked nearby – a sedan, possibly gray. The car u-turns and peels off.

The victim said the robber was the only person she saw in the car. The dome light glowed briefly when the thief opened the driver’s door. She saw a flash of plaid, a seat cover or a blanket.

The victim described the robber as a 30-year-old white man. He wore a ski mask with a black stripe at the bottom, and a dark zip-up coat.

Third incident:
Oct. 12, 4:10 a.m., 4000 block of East Portland Avenue:

Victim, a 27-year-old woman, returns from visit to Fife casino. Her friends have dropped her off. She walks toward her boyfriend’s house. A young man on a bicycle approaches, saying, “Excuse me, ma’am, do you have any spare change for the phone?”

Victim reaches for her purse. The man snatches it and rides away.

The woman described the thief as a black man in his early 20s, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and khaki pants.

Fourth incident: Oct. 15, 3:10 a.m., 3500 block of South Crandall Lane:

Victim, a 72-year-old woman, returns from a visit to the Emerald Queen Casino. She parks her car on the street by her house in an unlit area. As she reaches her front door, a ski-masked man steps toward her and says, “I need help.”

Victim offers to call police. The man grabs her purse, runs to a nearby car and drives into the dark.

The victim was shaking when police spoke to her. She said the thief wore a black ski mask, a blue shirt and black pants. She thought he was a white male; she caught a glimpse of his hands.

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