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Beware: Drive-By Purse Snatcher Wreaking Havoc In N.J.

LODI, N.J. (CBS 2/WCBS 880) -- It is new way for robbers to take your purse -- drive by and snatch it from the window.

One man has managed to steal hundreds of dollars from women in New Jersey. And he's still on the loose.


WCBS 880's Levon Putney talks with Lodi police

On a surveillance video tape you see the driver of a blue Hyundai SUV pull up behind the woman a Clifton parking lot, then drive next to her, grab her bag, throw her to the ground and then speed away.

"As he's leaving the force knocks her over as she's trying to hold on to her purse," Clifton Police Capt. Robert Rowan told CBS 2's Christine Sloan on Tuesday.

The incident happened in the parking lot of a Target over the weekend. Police said the same suspect is responsible for seven other purse-snatchings since the beginning of the month in towns like Bloomfield, Lodi and Kearny.

His MO: he scopes out parking lots stores and looks for victims who may be distracted or carrying their bag loosely and then he goes into action like he did at a Wal-Mart in Kearny.

"The driver of the vehicle hung out of the window while the vehicle was moving and actually pulled the strap of her purse and she falls to the ground," Kearny Police Deputy Chief James Corbett said.

In Lodi, the suspect hit his victim with his SUV as he fled. It's a new grab-and-rob phenomenon in New Jersey that has many women nervous.

"This is the first time I am hearing about it. I always put my purse in the back of my car when I am loading," said Lodi resident Linda Rodriguez.

"I have it in the shopping cart under my bags when I walk."

Police said the blue SUV has no front plate and the back plate is covered with plastic. It also has a dent on the front left fender and some sort of parking sticker on a side window.

To avoid becoming a victim police said you should carry your bag in the front toward the parked cars away from moving traffic. Better yet, they said just put your money in your pocket.

There has also been an outbreak of purse snatchings in Nassau County. Police searching for two men connected to at least 10 incidents.

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