Newport News Police investigating string of purse snatchings

Posted at 12:16 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-10 12:28:59-05

UPDATE: A fifth robbery and purse snatching occurred January 9th at 10:53 p.m. A 55-year-old Newport News woman was about to enter the front door of her residence in the 500 block of Ive Avenue when she was approached from behind. The suspect tugged at her purse and when she refused to let go, the suspect threw her against a brick wall, punching and kicking her as they struggled over the purse.

When she stated she didn’t have anything the subject ceased his assault and walked away.

Police continue to search for the man who matches the description of the man in the four previous robbery incidents.

Newport News, Va. - Police say they are investigating four purse snatchings since New Year’s Eve.

Police believe the same man is responsible for each incident.

Police say the suspect usually strikes as a woman is getting out of her car at night and is alone.

“He bruised up both her knees, and her shoulder and broke her wrist and took her purse,” said Joseph Orie.

Orie’s 71-year-old wife was pulled down the stairs at her house in the 800 block of 11th Street as she was unlocking the door to go inside Wednesday night. Police say the suspect took her purse and took off.

“I would suggest women be aware of their surroundings, prior to getting out of the car maybe they could call someone inside the residence so they can look out the window prior to them getting out of the car,” said Detective L.D. LeGrande with the Newport News Police Department.

The first incident occurred on December 31st at 7:36 p.m. Police say a 52-year-old woman exited her vehicle in the 1200 block of Wickham Avenue when she was approached from behind by the suspect. The suspect grabbed her and dragged her until she released her purse. It contained personal information and cash.

At 8:00 p.m. the same evening, a 19-year-old Newport News woman exited a bus in the area of Hampton Avenue and Marshall Avenue when the suspect approached her and initiated conversation. The victim ignored the suspect and he placed his hands over her eyes and mouth and dragged her into a driveway in the 2100 block of Marshall Avenue.

The suspect pulled a razor blade out of his pocket during the struggle and caused a minor cut to the victim's face. He then took her purse and ran.

On January 3rd, a 52-year-old Newport News woman exited her vehicle in the 800 block of 20th street and was walking towards her front door when a black male approached her from the sidewalk. He grabbed her purse and pulled her to the ground. The man ran away southbound towards 19th Street. The purse contained credit cards, cash, her wallet and other personal items. The victim sustained minor injuries during the struggle for the purse.

The fourth incident was Orie’s wife on January 8th at 4:46 p.m.

Police say the suspect has curly hair and is in his late teens or early twenties.

Anyone with information about these incidents or the man responsible is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.