Police arrest suspected purse snatcher for grabbing bag from downtown diner

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 7, 2015

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ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak police arrested a Redford man after he allegedly snatched a woman’s purse from a downtown dining patio.

No one was injured during the nighttime incident Saturday, Sept. 26, on Main Street in downtown Royal Oak.

Officers arrested Pierre Jefferson, 17, at 10:03 p.m. Sept. 26, and he was arraigned Sept. 28 before 44th District Court Magistrate Donald Chisholm. Chisholm set bond at $10,000. 

Jefferson was charged with one count of larceny from a person, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
The suspect entered a plea of not guilty and asked for a court-appointed attorney, who had not been assigned as of press time.

Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigations Division Lt. David Clemens said Jefferson ran up to the woman and her boyfriend, who were sitting in the outdoor patio area of a restaurant in the 100 block of South Main Street. Police said Jefferson allegedly reached over the railing, grabbed the woman’s purse off the table and fled.

Clemens said it was a brazen act.

“I am very glad we caught this person and recovered the victim’s property,” he said. “It’s a serious crime.”  

According to police, the woman’s boyfriend chased the suspect a short distance before losing sight of him north of 11 Mile Road.

Clemens said that responding officers set up a perimeter and found Jefferson and another suspect in the area of Pingree Boulevard and Troy Street. Both suspects were taken into custody without incident.

Clemens said that the second suspect, a juvenile, was arrested for a curfew violation and turned over to his mother.

Clemens said officers searched the area and recovered all of the woman’s things.

Although purse snatching like this is uncommon in Royal Oak, police reports have shown incidents in which diners have had items taken out of their purses while they were hanging on the backs of their chairs in pubs or restaurants.

“The best advice to avoid being a victim of a crime of this nature is to keep your purse on your lap or between your feet in front of your chair,” Clemens said.

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