Originally published Dec. 29, 2021
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Two grandmothers spent their Christmas in the hospital after both were violently robbed while out shopping in St. Paul.
The crimes happened one day apart, both in broad daylight. Despite their similarities, police don't believe the two incidents are connected.
Judy Stuthman, 81, was out shopping on Dec. 23 to get food for a Christmas Eve brunch with her family. She stopped at a Walgreens on the 1100 block of Larpenteur Avenue. She had one foot in the entryway when a man ran up behind her and tried snatching her purse.
"I just remember thinking he's not gonna get my purse [laughs]!" Stuthman said.
The purse was looped around her wrist, so when the man grabbed it she was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. The man was unable to get her purse and ran off. Walgreens staff called 911.
All Stuthman remembers after hitting the ground was waking up in the ambulance. She was hospitalized for a few days with a concussion and brain bleeding. Her daughters took turns visiting her in the hospital over the holiday.
"My daughters are a great stabilizing influence, so I think we all just planned on the best happening," she said of her recovery.
On Dec. 22 across town, 85-year-old Angela Ferguson was also wrapping up a shopping trip. She was at Aldi on West Seventh Street in the parking lot. While in the store, her daughter, Jean Hyde, said Ferguson noticed two men eyeing her purse in the checkout line. Those same men would then be waiting for Ferguson in the parking lot.
As she loaded her groceries into her car, Hyde said the men pulled up and tried wrestling the purse away from Ferguson.
"He jumped back into his car and she went to follow him, and that's when he shoved her down," Hyde said.
Ferguson had concussion and severe bruising on her face. One of her eyes was swollen shut.
"She looks like she went 10 rounds with somebody and lost," Hyde said. "Obviously they didn't learn how to respect their elders."
The part that concerned Hyde the most is that her mom also suffered a stress-induced heart attack. She's glad her mom is out of the hospital, but she worries about the long-term effects, both physically and mentally.
"I don't understand why people are doing this. I mean, I get that they're targeting elderly people because they consider them easy marks, but I don't understand," she said.
The thieves who attacked Ferguson used her credit card at a Target in Richfield. Police were able to get surveillance images of their car and one of the suspects as he exited the store. Coupled with the video and pictures of the suspect at Walgreens, both families are hopeful the men will be arrested.
"I hope they can somehow identify with family members and realize how hurt they would be if it happened to their grandmother or great grandmother," Stuthman said.
Police say the suspects are different people in each case, which is why they don't feel the crimes are connected. Anyone who has information or recognizes the suspects or their vehicle in the pictures is asked to call St. Paul Police at 651-266-5650.
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