Video: Purse-snatching victim dragged

The driver of this car is accused of stealing a woman's purse in the Meijer store parking lot in Norton Shores, March 20, 2014. (photo courtesy Norton Shores Police Department)

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) – A 59-year-old Norton Shores woman suffered serious head injuries after she was dragged by the vehicle of a suspect trying to snatch her purse.

It happened just before 8 p.m. Thursday outside the Meijer store at Henry Street and W. Norton Avenue in Norton Shores.

“Basically, what you’re looking at is this silver car,” said Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw as he showed 24 Hour News 8 surveillance video of the moments leading up to, during, and after of what began as a purse snatching.

Shaw paid special attention to the silver car in the surveillance video, which is believed to be a Pontiac G6.

“It drives past the Meijer, south side of Meijer. And this is actually our victim walking in front of him with the shopping cart,” Shaw said as the victim appeared on the video, pushing her cart after the silver car circled the parking lot. “We believe this vehicle may have been in the parking lot for some time, trying to find just the right victim to prey upon.”

The video showed the suspect’s car as it circled the lot and the victim as she reached in her vehicle and began to put items in the back.

The woman then left her purse in the grocery cart, and suddenly, the driver of the silver car pulled up next to the victim’s cart, according to the video.

“He grabs her purse. She grabs onto the purse as he’s driving away. He pulls her across and she actually struck that vehicle that was parked there,” Shaw said. “You would think, if she grabbed onto the purse, she wouldn’t be able to hold on to it. Unfortunately, she was, and was pulled off balance or however that occurred.”

The video then showed the victim getting dragged several feet before striking a vehicle parked a few spaces away.

The suspect’s car could be seen dodging other vehicles as it left the scene.

“You can see he was evading these other vehicles to get out of the parking lot,” Shaw said.

While the video showed the situation as it unfolded, investigators are still missing key pieces of information, including a license plate number and a suspect description.

“The only thing we have at this point is the vehicle,” Shaw said. “We could not see the driver of the vehicle at all. And the witnesses really didn’t give a good description of the driver either, other than to say he was a black male.”

On Friday afternoon, authorities learned an unknown person had returned the stolen purse to the victim’s home. Police want to speak with the person who returned the purse so they can find out when and where the purse was discovered.

Police are seeing if anything is missing from the purse.

If you have information or believe you’ve seen the suspect’s car, call the Norton Shores Police Department at 231.733.2691 or Silent Observer at 231.72.CRIME.

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