Serial purse snatcher in Northern New Jersey

December 14, 2010 2:32:29 PM PST
Police in Northern New Jersey are warning women about a serial purse snatcher.

He's struck at least seven times, grabbing women's purses as he drives by in an SUV.

"That's our suspect's vehicle, stalking for a victim," described a Clifton Police officer.

A blue Hyundai Santa Fe was seen trolling for a victim in the Target parking lot at Clifton Commons, Saturday morning, and it was caught on camera.

A Clifton officer walks Eyewitness News through as the suspect cornered his 52-year-old victim.

"This vehicle slows down, there's our victim, he boxes her in, you see him take the purse, knock her over and speeds away," the officer said.

The victim barely knew what hit her.

"She thought maybe she bumped into the rear view mirror. The driver reached, took the purse and dragged her," said Captain Robert Rowan, of the Clifton Police Department.

"It's scary, especially when you have your kids with you," said Gabrielle Roselli, a Nutley resident.

Back in the same lot, women said they are not surprised by this.

"It's not unusual, it happens all the time, you have got to be careful," said Nancy D'Elia, a Clifton resident.

Police believe the same person in the same car is responsible for seven snatchings in Bloomfield, Kearny, Clifton, and the last incident in Lodi, at the Shop Rite on Main Street.

The robber is getting away with more than money.

"He takes the purse, he gets your ID, possibly your keys, and this could lead to a burglary," the officer said.

While they look for him, police are warning women not to carry their purses on the arm closest to moving cars, like many of the women Eyewitness News spotted, instead switch it to the arm closest to the parked cars.

"So it's not as vulnerable to this kind of attack," Rowan said.

"Pathetic. I hope someone catches him," said Elizabeth Diaz, a North Arlington resident.

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