Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Man, 66, shot trying to ward off purse snatching

ST. PETERSBURG — A purse snatcher shot a 66-year-old man who was trying to defend a woman he was with as the robber pistol whipped her Friday, St. Petersburg police said.

As the two prepared to leave for a doctor's appointment, a man approached their home in the 3200 block of 33rd Avenue N and pulled a handgun. The robber grabbed at the 65-year-old woman's purse and hit her in the head with the gun, police said.

The man grabbed a shovel to defend the woman, and the thief shot him in the chest and arm.

The suspect was described as a black man, about 20 years old, 5 feet 10, and wearing a dark T-shirt covered by a dark flannel shirt. He rode away eastbound on 33rd Avenue N on a turquoise beach cruiser-style bike.

Both victims were taken to a hospital and treated for injuries, police said.

This was the second purse snatching this week. While the circumstances were similar to a robbery Tuesday, police were uncertain if the robber is the same.

In Tuesday's robbery, a teen approached two co-workers in an alley behind 4514 Central Ave., about 3 miles away from Friday's robbery.

The robber asked for a dollar and then grabbed at the woman's purse. The woman tried to hold on, but she let go when the robber hit her in the head with a gun. The thief ran off.

The suspect in that robbery was described as black, in his late teens, about 130 pounds, 5 feet 11, "baby faced," and with short hair beneath a black beanie.

Anyone with information about the robberies can call police at (727) 893-7780, text a tip to (727) 420-8911 or leave a confidential tip at (727) 892-5000.

Weston Phippen can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8321.

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