Originally created 09/30/00

Police warn women of purse snatchers



Augusta area women who shop at night should be wary of drive-by purse snatchers in parking lots, police say.

A Hephzibah woman loading her car at the Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road on Thursday night became the third victim of the crime, said Richmond and Columbia County sheriffs' investigators.

The 43-year-old woman was putting items into the trunk of her car at 10:10 p.m. when two men pulled their car close to her. One leaned out while the car was still moving and grabbed her purse, said Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry.

"It knocked her down and she was dragged a little way, and she relinquished the purse," Maj. Autry said.

The woman described the men as white and the car as a brown 1997 or 1998 midsize sedan, Maj. Autry said.

The crime was similar to two others that occurred at the Wal-Mart on Bobby Jones Expressway last month, according to Columbia County sheriff's Investigator Alfonzo Williams.

At 11:15 p.m. Aug. 11, three white, clean-shaven men with crewcuts waited on a 65-year-old Grovetown woman and her daughter to leave the store. Once the women were outside, they drove up next to the older woman, striking her with the car. The passenger reached out and grabbed her purse, pulling her arm inside the vehicle. The men sped away in the small red or burgundy vehicle with a blue-and-white dealership tag, according to Columbia County Sheriff's Office records.

And at 9 p.m. Aug. 14, three white men, also clean-shaven with military-style haircuts, waited for a 33-year-old Beech Island woman to leave the same store. The driver drove very close to her, and the passenger grabbed her purse, knocking her to the ground. They did not getthe purse.

According to witnesses, the two were in a teal-green Nissan Altima displaying a Gerald Jones paper tag, reports stated.

Anyone with information about the crimes should call the Richmond County Sheriff's Department at 821-1020, or the Columbia County Sheriff's Office at 541-2800.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228.