Watch CBS News

$5,000 Reward Offered In L.I. Purse-Snatchings Case

ELMONT, N.Y. (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) -- The violent purse-snatchers have struck again, attacking two more women on Long Island.

At least nine women have been terrorized over the past three weeks in Levittown, Baldwin, Merrick, East Meadow, Wantagh, North Merrick and North Bellmore, reports CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan.

I was really stupid – I just should have probably let it go," Merrick robbery victim Joan Behrens said. "He got me off-balance and I went down to the ground. My glasses came off."

Behrens didn't care about her bloody knees or the skin ripped from her thumbs.

She refused to be victimized by a serial purse-snatcher who's staking women in their own driveways.

"I was just going to run him down with my car, that's how angry I was," Behrens said.

The suspect got away, and police say that seems to be the violent pattern in the string of unsettling handbag robberies – while one thug accosts women perceived to be vulnerable or distracted, his accomplice sneaks around in the getaway car.

"These individuals might be following them home in a car described as kind of a black or silver, Camry-style vehicle, with primer paint on the driver's side door," Nassau County Police Detective Lieutenant Kevin Smith said.

Among the victims is a 37-year-old schoolteacher. She was followed home from the Merrick Train Station, putting her bike away in the garage and turning to see the predator.

"She was attacked last night," the victim's friend, Nancy Gutheuil, said. "She was hit from behind, and the next thing she knew she was lying on the ground."

Another woman in North Bellmore was listening to her iPod and not paying attention when the mugger came up from behind.

It's been a frightful week for many victims.

"He started grabbing my bag and I held on also, and he threw me to the ground," victim Elizabeth Barbosa told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan. "I think there was somebody else with him, because the car came and picked him up."

"They're targeting what they perceive to be a vulnerable subject, somebody who's not going to give them much trouble," Det. Lt. Smith said.

Police are advising residents to look over their shoulders and into the rear view mirror, and to always remain vigilant walking into their homes.

Police urge any victims or witnesses whose homes have security video to contact them with any possible evidence of the violent attacks.


1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports


1010 WINS' John Montone reports


WCBS 880's Sophia Hall with details on the string of purse snatchings

Police on Long Island have stepped up patrols in an attempt to stop the spree. They advised women not to struggle and to just give up the purse. No weapon was shown in any of the attempts.

There was a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.