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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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Suspect Still at Large in Purse Snatching at Giant

At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Fredericksburg police received a call that the mother of a UMW senior was robbed while entering Giant, the grocery store in Eagle Village, police officials said.  No weapon was involved in this crime.

According to Natatia Bledsoe, public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department, the suspect walked in the grocery store directly behind the woman, 50, and tackled her near the customer service desk.  The suspect stole her purse before running out of the store.

“What is, of course, very unique in this case is that [the victim] was not in any way making herself a vulnerable target,” Bledsoe said.

Taylor Parker, the victim’s daughter, said she was in Eagle Landing when she learned about the incident.

“I was in shock and couldn’t believe what was going on,” Parker said.  “My first thought was to call 911, and to see if my mom was hurt or not.”

Bledsoe said that as a result of being grabbed by the suspect, the victim fell to the ground.  However, the victim got up and followed him out of the store.

“She went after him and inside the glass-enclosed area she made contact with him again,” Bledsoe said.  “They both went down to the ground.  He immediately got up with the purse and kept running.”

Parker said that as a result of falling, her mother sustained minor cuts and bruises.

“Despite the physical soreness, it will take time for her to get the image of the man approaching her out of her mind,” Parker said.

The victim, who is from Chesapeake, Va., was visiting for Family Weekend, according to Bledsoe.

Bledsoe said that a Giant employee witnessed the attack and ran after the suspect, jumping over the victim in the glass-enclosed area of the Giant exit and out to the parking lot.

The employee was able to give police the description of the suspect’s vehicle, a gold Cadillac sedan with Maryland license plate number 6EVJ45.  The owner of the vehicle, a female in Oxon Hill, Md., has no known ties to Fredericksburg, according to Bledsoe.

Witnesses said the suspect was last seen driving northbound on U.S. Route 1, according to the campus crime alert sent out to students.

Parker said that after the robbery, she received concerned phone calls from President Rick Hurley and Assistant Director of Residence Life Cynthia Richards, both checking on her and her mother.  She said the calls were appreciated very much by her parents.

In addition to the administrator’s calls, a UMW police officer called Parker and offered assistance to her family, according to Parker.

“They assured me that they were working along with the [Fredericksburg] police in catching this guy and that they were going to review the cameras that UMW has in the area,” Parker said.

The suspect fled the scene still in possession of the victim’s purse, which included cash, credit cards and a digital camera, according to Bledsoe.

Bledsoe said that the suspect has a short haircut and no facial hair.  He was wearing a black tank top, khaki shorts, a baseball cap and white sneakers.

The alert said the Fredericksburg Police Department issued a “be on the lookout” alert and local law enforcement is searching for the suspect.

“We are attempting to identify the suspect,” Bledsoe said.  “It is a very active investigation.”

Top photo: The grocery store in Eagle Village where the suspect allegedly robbed the mother of a UMW senior who was visiting for Family Weekend.  Anne Elder/Bullet

Side photo: The video footage of the suspect from the Giant security camera.  Courtesy of Natatia Bledsoe