Purse snatcher caught by police

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 8, 2013

A 27-year-old Garden City man has been arraigned on charges of unarmed robbery after he was caught just moments after stealing an 88-year-old woman’s purse in the parking lot of Kroger.

Police were called to the grocery store on Nine Mile Road at 6 p.m. March 4. The St. Clair Shores woman said she had walked out of the store and entered her vehicle. Backed into the spot next to her was a gold car occupied by two men.

The driver of that vehicle opened his door and bumped into the victim’s driver’s side door. When she opened her door to speak with the man, he exited his vehicle and pulled the purse off her arm, then got back into his car and drove away.

While police were investigating, they received a call from public safety officers in Grosse Pointe, who said they had caught the two suspects. Officers found the vehicle heading south on Jefferson Avenue near Vernier; it would not stop for police.

It ended up crashing near Avondale Street, at which time the passenger, a 27-year-old Garden City man, jumped out and ran. Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety officers took him into custody, apprehending the driver, 27-year-old Luke Underhill, of Garden City, as well.

Inside the vehicle, police found purses and wallets they suspected the driver had taken in other robberies in different jurisdictions.

St. Clair Shores Police Detective Dennis Kozikowski said Underhill, the driver of the vehicle, was arraigned in 40th District Court on one count of unarmed robbery — a 15-year-felony — and three counts of possession of a financial transaction device, stemming from the credit cards belonging to residents of other jurisdictions found in his possession. Those counts carry a maximum penalty of four years each.

“There are other jurisdictions that have their investigations going,” Kozikowski said.

He said there are no charges pending against the passenger of the vehicle at this time.