Local News

Police investigating series of Durham purse snatchings

Posted October 17, 2012

— Durham police are asking for the public's help in solving a series a purse snatchings and robberies over the past three weeks that they think might be related.

The crimes have happened at different times of the day in parking lots and mostly involve women leaving businesses, according to investigators. The assailant uses force or threatens physical force to intimidate the victims to get their belongings.

Police have received reports of 10 cases, most in northern Durham, in which a man flees in an SUV – a stolen burgundy Cadillac Escalade, stolen silver Toyota RAV4 or red Ford Expedition with North Carolina license plate BCS-7822 – after the crime.

Most involved purse snatchings, but some involved cash, credit cards and cellphones being stolen:

  • On Sept. 25 at 9:47 a.m., a man snatched a woman's purse in the 3600 block of Hillsborough Road and fled in an Escalade.
  • At 10:15 p.m. on the same day, a man snatched a woman's purse in the 1400 block of Avondale Drive and also fled in an Escalade.
  • On Oct. 9 at 2:15 p.m., a man snatched a woman's person in the 4900 block of Howe St. and fled in a RAV4.
  • On Oct. 10 at 6:06 a.m., a man struck an elderly man and took his cash and credit cards in the 4300 block of North Roxboro Road. The attacker fled in a silver SUV, which police believe could have been a RAV4.
  • At 2:48 p.m. on Oct. 10, another woman had her purse snatched by a man who took off in a RAV4.
  • At 9:42 p.m., two men snatched a purse in the 2800 block of North Roxboro Road and fled in a RAV4.
  • The next day, Oct. 11, at 6:39 p.m., a man grabbed a person's phone in the 2500 block of Guess Road and fled in a RAV4.
  • Three minutes later, in the 2000 block of Guess Road, a woman had her purse snatched by a man who left in a RAV4.
  • On Oct. 15 at 10:55 p.m., a man took a wallet and a cellphone from two people at a Laundromat in the 3800 block of Guess Road and fled in an Expedition.
  • At 4:28 a.m. on Oct. 16, a man snatched a woman's purse in the 100 block of Stratford Lake Drive. He fled in an Expedition.

The man has been described as black with a dark complexion, a muscular build, standing 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 1 inch tall with a large muscular build.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4582, extension 29240 or 29238 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


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  • ladyofthehouse Oct 17, 2012

    I was robbed of my purse by a person who thought since I was on oxygen I was an easy target. I was daring enough to have my purse over my shoulder. He grabbed it and jerked me so hard I almost fell. He got away. And I had to change everything even the way I live. I hope they catch this guy before he really hurts someone.

  • Nicm Oct 17, 2012

    Um, Charm did you not read the part of the article where they stated the following. "The assailant uses force or threatens physical force to intimidate the victims to get their belongings." If someone is threatening you to get your purse I think that would mean the individual is not just leaving their purse laying around. So having your purse close to you is not going to help you in that situation.

  • Harrison Bergeron Oct 17, 2012

    "No criminal can get your purse, if you are doing what you are suppose to be doing; holding your purse close to you. " -charmcclainlovesdogs2

    Unless, of course, you are the unwitting contestant in the next game of "Knockout King".

  • kikinc Oct 17, 2012

    Yeah, ask all those women who hold their purses close to them and still get mugged and lose their purses. How we blame the criminals for breaking the law? That would make more sense.

    chichimama-Don't pay much attention. It's always the vicitim's fault...

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 17, 2012

    Women should be responsible in keeping up with their purses. No criminal can get your purse, if you are doing what you are suppose to be doing; holding your purse close to you. The criminal has observed you, and then go after you. Be care and wise when out and about.

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 17, 2012

    Ok this isn't occurring at bus stops. Living in north Durham I never felt too unsafe at these locations. Guess that is changing. What else is changing? Where I shop, using the extra gas to shop in Hillsborough seems more worth it everyday.

  • chichimama Oct 17, 2012

    Wow charmcclainlovesdogs2, unbelieveable, did you really just take the blame from the perpetrator and place it on women who carry purses?!? Take a look again, some of the victims were men and some had their wallets and cell phones stolen, not their purses. I bet you're the kind of person who believes that women who wear short skirts are to be blamed for their own rapes.

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 17, 2012

    Given the location and times these occurred it sounds like they could be occurring at bus stops at these locations. If so, that would be important to report.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 17, 2012

    They would not be able to snatch these purses if women themselves would hold on to them. Maybe these women should wear a purse-pack. Walk into the grocery store. You will see the women on one side of the asile, and the purse in the cart on the other side. The women are the ones asking for trouble. If you cannot keep up with your purse, then maybe you don't need to carry one.

  • streetglide Oct 17, 2012

    carry a weapon, and it would be his last purse snatch, how about the police stage a police pressence in these areas and try and fool them. Saw it on TV,, where real cops get the job done!! Maybe they are already doing this, but do not want to reveal it to all!,, lets hope they are doing this,, this is off the hook!