Purse-snatcher makes swift getaway

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com
An Elizabethton woman shopping at Winn-Dixie got a surprise Thursday as she strolled around Isle #3. A male subject who she at first thought to be one of her sons, came running up to her, grabbed her purse from the buggy and ran.
Elizabethton Police Department Ptl. Jason Shaw was alerted by Ptl. Jennifer Mayberry that a purse-snatching had just occurred at the Betsytowne Shopping Center on U.S. Highway 19E. Shaw spoke with Lori Bailey Shields, 39, 113 Harold Estep Road, who told the officer that after the subject grabbed her purse, she screamed and ran after him, but the subject ran out of the store.
A witness told the officer that he was outside the store and saw a male subject jump onto the hood of a dark-colored car and ride on the hood of the vehicle until it was in front of Arby's. Then the subject crawled into the car through the window of the vehicle, which left the parking lot without its headlights on.
Sgt. Keith Range of Carter County Sheriff's Department happened to be at Winn-Dixie at the time of the theft and took off chasing the suspect on foot as the subject jumped onto the hood of the car and fled.
Range described the suspect as 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 200 to 220 pounds, with brown hair. The vehicle was described as a black Toyota or Nissan.
Shields described the pocketbook as a black Fossil purse, containing a Nokia cell phone, checkbook, wallet with various credit cards, and personal identification.