A 52-year-old Minnesota woman was slammed against a car and dragged about 75 yards in a shopping center parking lot this week, becoming the latest victim in a string of purse snatchings that has prompted a search for suspects in the St. Paul area, according to a report.
“We really need to find these people before someone is more seriously injured and we need the public’s help,” St. Paul Police spokesman Steve Linders told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The incident was captured on security video that the St. Paul police posted on Facebook.
The style and method of the robbery were similar to more than 20 other incidents reported in St. Paul since Nov. 20, Linders said.
The woman was putting something in her car trunk after shopping at Hmong Village when one of the robbers jumped out of a stolen car, slammed her against his vehicle, grabbed her purse and returned to the car, the video showed.
As the suspect drove away, the woman fell to the ground and her arm became caught in the purse’s strap, Linders said.
The driver continued on, dragging the woman alongside the passenger side of the car, the newspaper reported. The unidentified woman suffered bumps and bruises but was not seriously injured.
There have also been recent alerts in Twin Cities suburbs about purse snatchings and St. Paul police are investigating whether those cases are connected to incidents in the city.
In the St. Paul robberies — including two Wednesday night — suspects sneak up on women from behind or approach them in stolen vehicles and jump out, the Pioneer Press reported.
They “surprise the unsuspecting victims by ripping purses or bags from their hands or shoulders,” Linders said.
Most of the women have been 40 or older, and the purses targeted are often expensive models, Linders said.
If victims resist, the suspects have struck or threatened them, sometimes with guns, according to Linders. After stealing the purses, the robbers escape on foot or in a stolen vehicle, the Pioneer Press reported.
In most cases, two or more suspects ages 15 to 30 have been seen. They’ve tried to hide their identities with hooded sweatshirts or hats, Linders said.