Man is arrested in purse thefts Perry Hall resident charged in 1 of 9 drive-by robberies

September 26, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Police arrested a Perry Hall man Monday who they said they believe is the drive-by purse snatcher responsible for at least nine robberies and two attempts at shopping centers and malls in Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

Dwight Thomas Windsor Jr., 32, of the first block of Bernadotte Court was charged by Anne Arundel police with one count of robbery. Howard police charged him in a warrant with robbery, theft, assault and battery. He was being held in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on $15,000 bond.

The purse-snatching victims were unhurt except for an 84-year-old Ellicott City woman whose head was cut when she was knocked to the ground Monday. She was treated at St. Agnes Hospital in Howard County, held overnight and released.

Five purse-snatching robberies occurred at Glen Burnie shopping centers and malls in a 10-day period that began Aug. 7.

Each time, a white Pontiac drove past a woman walking across a parking lot and either the driver or a passenger reached out and pulled the purse from the woman's shoulder as the car sped off, police said.

The robberies stopped for a month. Then, on Sept. 17, a Linthicum woman was robbed by a man with thinning blond hair driving a white Pontiac as she walked across a parking lot at Governor Plaza shopping center in the 6600 block of Ritchie Highway, police said. A purse snatcher in a car had failed in an earlier attempt that day in the same parking lot, police said.

Witnesses gave police a tag number for the white Pontiac, but a check with the Motor Vehicle Administration showed the tags had been turned in, police said.

The next day, a woman was robbed by a motorist at Marley Station, and Sept. 19 a Brooklyn Park woman was robbed at Chesapeake Square shopping center, also in the 6600 block of Ritchie Highway.

The victims of the September robberies described their assailant as white, in his 40s with thinning blond hair. In each case, he was driving a white, four-door car, possibly a Pontiac Grand Am, police said.

Anne Arundel police later learned that a man driving a white Pontiac assaulted Dorothy Hamer, 84, of Ellicott City and stole her purse as she walked across the parking lot of the Kmart at Chatham Mall on U.S. 40.

Shortly afterward, a security camera at a Howard County grocery store recorded the man using Hamer's credit card, police said.

Anne Arundel police talked with Baltimore officers and asked them to watch for a white Grand Am with a tag number similar to the one reported by witnesses. Anne Arundel and Baltimore officers were on Washington Boulevard near Monroe Street on Monday when they saw a suspect.

The license tag on the Pontiac Grand Am was off by one number from that given by witnesses, and the driver matched the description of the man on the grocery store videotape, police said.

The man was arrested and later identified by one of the victims as her assailant, police said, adding that they searched the man's home Monday and his car Tuesday.

Pub Date: 9/26/96

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