Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arrest made in St. Petersburg and Largo purse snatchings

Timothy E. Jackson faces a series of felony charges.

Timothy E. Jackson faces a series of felony charges.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Snell Isle neighborhood alert warned of the purse snatchers.

The men were "driving around shopping center parking lots daily snatching purses by either ripping them off your arm while you walk through the parking lot or … from your cart when you step away momentarily."

Friday police announced that they had arrested one man in the series of purse snatchings that took place between Dec. 28 and Tuesday in St. Petersburg and Largo.

Timothy E. Jackson, 28, of 4301 11th Ave. S faces a long list of charges. They include two counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, two counts of possession of stolen credit cards, grand theft of a motor vehicle, possession of marijuana and driving on a suspended driver's license.

Police said the car used in the thefts was a 2008 black Ford Fusion that had been stolen in Pinellas Park on Dec. 19.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, Jackson's arrests date to January 2000, when he was charged with vehicle theft. He served time in prison from September 2008 to October for robbery.

Law enforcement officials believe two people were involved in the purse snatchings, police spokesman Mike Puetz said. One was the getaway driver, while the other snatched the purse from the victim's hand or shopping cart, he said.

"They would usually take the credit cards and try to use them at department stores immediately," he said.

Police are looking for the second suspect.

The snatchings, sometimes two a day, occurred at Tyrone Gardens Shopping Center, 1050 58th St. N; Tyrone Square Mall, near JCPenney and Sears; Walmart, 201 34th St. N; Publix, 3501 49th St. N; Publix in the Northeast Park Shopping Center, 3700 Fourth St. N; Target, 8151 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N; Target, 4450 Park St. N; and Family Dollar 11849 Seminole Blvd., Largo.

Barbara Heck, past president of the Snell Isle Property Owners Association, sent out the email alert.

"My concern was that everybody be safe when they go out," she said. "This was a wake-up call for all of us to be very careful when we go shopping, be aware of our surroundings and, for us ladies, our purses."

Puetz had some advice to offer.

"The main tip is to be aware of your surroundings, look for people who are overly interested in what you're doing," he said.

He suggested securing purses with the child restraints attached to shopping carts or with a clip brought from home.

"It doesn't make it foolproof, it just prevents them from quickly removing it and running," Puetz said.

Keeping bags on the shoulder is also a good idea, he said.

"I think it has to do with opportunity. It's important to pay attention."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this article. Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

St. Petersburg police are asking anyone with information to call (727) 893-7780.

Fast facts

How to help

St. Petersburg police are asking anyone with information to call (727) 893-7780.

Arrest made in St. Petersburg and Largo purse snatchings 01/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 6:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  3. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)

  4. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Casimar Naiboa pleads for help to capture the killer of his son, Anthony Naiboa. Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed near 15th Street N. and E. Frierson Avenue after getting off the wrong bus in Seminole Heights. A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  5. PolitiFact Florida: Rubio has a point about the child tax credit

    State Roundup

    The Trump administration and Senate and House leaders have revealed a framework for tax legislation that proposes tax cuts for business, a reduction in tax brackets, and the elimination of several tax breaks.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, and other members of the committee arrive on Capitol Hill in August. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)