Man uses vehicle to steal woman's purse

COVINGTON - A woman was shaken up Saturday afternoon following an altercation with a robber who nearly struck her with a sport utility vehicle and then snatched her purse.

Just before 4 p.m., the victim was walking north in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Industrial Boulevard when a dark blue Chevrolet Blazer, which had some front end damage, nearly side-swiped her, according to an incident report completed by Covington Police Department Officer Danny Bartello.

The driver of the SUV, who was described as a white man wearing a white, long-sleeve T-shirt, reached out of the driver's side window and grabbed the victim's purse off her right shoulder.

The victim, who was not seriously injured, said the suspect sped away in the direction of Industrial Boulevard, according to the CPD report.

The purse contained the victim's credit cards, check book, Social Security card, house keys and digital camera. It was later recovered by a resident near Academy Springs Park. The only thing missing from the purse was the victim's cell phone and a $250 gift card.

According to Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, spokesman for the CPD, detectives are reviewing the store's surveillance camera footage, which they hope will yield some clues as to the suspect's identity.

Wagstaff said crimes like purse snatching have become more violent in recent years and criminals are coming up with innovative ways to take advantage of people.

"We try to tell people, especially around the holiday season, take the extra precautions," he said "If you've got packages in your car ... lock them in the trunk. Don't have packages or purses visible in your vehicle."

Wagstaff also recommends that residents not carry large amounts of cash and be aware of their surroundings.

The CPD spokesman also said anyone out shopping who feels uneasy because there are people loitering in the parking lot should walk back inside and notify police.

For those who find themselves in a situation in which they are the victim of a robbery, police advise giving up their purse or cash immediately and not struggle with the perpetrator.

Police ask anyone with information as to the identity or whereabouts of the suspect in this case to call the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.