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New Cameras Help Lawrence Police Catch Purse Theft Suspect

LAWRENCE (CBS) - New cameras helped Lawrence Police track and arrest a suspect wanted for allegedly stealing a 94-year-old woman's purse. "Within 15 minutes we were able to track him down make an arrest get her purse back," said Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque.

Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday police got a call that someone stole the purse.

The elderly victim was sitting in a car waiting for her daughter who was inside the Walgreens on South Broadway Street.

Lawrence suspect
Purse theft suspect in Lawrence (WBZ-TV)

A police camera at the corner of South Broadway and Andover Streets across from the Walgreens parking lot gave officers a description of the suspect and showed where he went.

Police later arrested 26-year-old Taylor Matkivich. He's charged with unarmed robbery of a person over 65 and trespassing.

Lawrence camera
Surveillance camera in Lawrence (WBZ-TV)

"He's a panhandler we're familiar with, so he's obviously in and around the stores this and that and obviously trying to be an opportunist in this case seeing an elderly woman and thinking she was an easy target," said Chief Vasque.

The cameras used are part of a new system launched citywide this winter. There are more than 120 of them and the city plans to add more later this year.

Lawrence cameras
Lawrence police monitor surveillance cameras around the city (WBZ-TV)

"You can't have an officer on every corner, but you can certainly have eyes in the sky in certain locations for us like I said it's been an invaluable tool so far we're looking forward to expanding the project," said Chief Vasque.

The 94-year-old victim was not hurt and got her purse back with everything still inside.

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