Witness helps police catch two teens who allegedly stole purse from elderly woman

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Suspects are accused of knocking down an elderly woman with a shoe.

An assisted-living caregiver helped police track down one of two teenagers accused of knocking an 82-year-old woman to the ground and stealing her purse.

The woman had just set her shopping bags and purse down to open her car door at Fred's Discount, 121 S. Sprigg St., around 1:16 p.m. Monday when the robbery occurred.

Two teenage boys are accused of striking the woman in the back of leg with a shoe, causing her to fall. They then took her purse, a witness said.

Corey Williams, 17, of 1321 William St., was charged with robbery and had his bond set at $20,000, according to police spokesman Jason Selzer. A 16-year-old boy was cited into juvenile court for the crime.

Jennifer Brown, 28, witnessed the crime while waiting for her friend to exit Fred's. She called police from her cellular telephone as the crime occurred.

Brown, who cares for patients in the Alzheimer's department of Arbors At Auburn Creek Assisted Living, said she was suspicious of the teenagers when she saw them sitting near the store not doing anything but looking around at people.

"It was like they were trying to prey on someone to (rob)," she said in a telephone interview Tuesday night.

Brown said she became even more suspicious when she saw the boy take off his shoe, which he later used to hit the victim's leg.

Following the robbery, the victim was screaming for help in the parking lot, and Brown decided to follow the teenagers in her car, with her 4-year-old daughter, 11-year-old stepson, and friend's 5-year-old child along for the ride.

As someone who cares for senior citizens and teaches her children to respect them, Brown said she was very upset that a robbery like that occurred.

"It's so sad to see someone treat them like that," she said.

When the boy took the purse and took off running, she lost sight of him. Brown then found the other teenager casually walking down Independence Street.

Police officers, who had been receiving information on the suspect's whereabouts from Brown, pulled up behind the teen and arrested him.

"He was pretty stupid about the whole thing," Brown said of the teenager, who never bothered to run from the scene and did not seem to notice the police pulling up behind him.

Williams' arrest then led police to the 16-year-old boy, Selzer said.

Selzer declined to comment on how much money was in the purse, and he did not know if the purse was recovered.

Brown said the victim, who she identified as the grandmother of a Cape Girardeau police officer, was shaken up from the attack, but not hurt.

Selzer could not verify Tuesday night that the victim was related to a Cape Girardeau officer. The victim could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 127

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