Witnesses help police find suspect in purse snatching Driver of car charged as an accessory

October 29, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Witnesses of a purse snatching Tuesday led Westminster police to a suspect, a self-described teen-age heroin addict, and his alleged accomplice within minutes.

Police were called to 140 Village Shopping Center at 5: 58 p.m. because of a strong-arm robbery. Witnesses and the alleged victim provided police with a description of a suspect, who they said was wearing a black nylon jacket, white baggy pants and green baseball cap.

Officer Robert Bertrand had noticed a man matching the description get into a brown Honda earlier. Upon hearing the broadcast, he stopped the Honda at Crossroads Square, a shopping center across the street.

The alleged victim and witnesses were taken to the location and identified a passenger in the Honda, said Lt. Randy Barnes, police spokesman. The purse belonging to the woman was found under the front passenger seat in the Honda, police said.

Philip M. Iafrate, 18, of the 3200 block of Beaver St. in Manchester was arrested on charges of robbery, theft less than $300 and second-degree assault, court records show.

He later was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after a syringe was found in his pocket.

According to charging documents, he told officers that he was a heroin addict.

"Heroin addicts are becoming increasingly desperate," Barnes said. "They are more willing to commit crimes in public places with lots of witnesses around."

Iafrate was held in lieu of $5,000 bail at the Carroll County Detention Center.

The driver of the Honda, Jennifer M. Bucy, 18, of the 200 block of Bell Road in Westminster was charged with theft less than $300 and with being an accessory to robbery before the fact, court records show.

Bucy was released on an unsecured $2,500 bond.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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