Monday, June 25, 2018
Public safety

Pasco man accused of snatching 76-year-old woman's purse

PORT RICHEY — Doris Schmidt idly wandered the aisles of Dillard's, unhurried, scouting for sales. She left after an hour, empty-handed.

Schmidt, 76, reached her vehicle in the parking lot of Gulf View Square mall, and a 30-something woman approached her, asking for directions. Schmidt gave them to her and turned back to her car, storing her cane inside.

Moments later, someone grabbed her purse, tearing it off her arm. She watched, bewildered, as a dark Ford SUV sped away. Then she screamed.

She said she wasn't sure whether the person who took her purse was a male or a female.

"All he, or she, did was smile at me," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said she was not injured during the attack.

"I just got the big bruise on my arm. It's still not right."

Willie Jones, 30, was arrested Thursday in connection with the crime, which happened in late June.

About an hour after the assault, Jones attempted to use Schmidt's credit cards at multiple locations, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. He is accused of trying to purchase goods worth more than $2,100 at a Walmart, including a television, and trying to spend $116.54 at a gas station. The transactions were denied, both deputies and Schmidt said.

Jones was identified through the use of witnesses and video as he used the credit cards, the report said. He was taken to the Land O'Lakes jail and charged with robbery by sudden snatching and fraudulent use of a credit card. He remained there Friday in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said deputies were still searching for a second suspect.

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