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Police: Tampa woman dragged beside car by purse-snatching robber

TAMPA — As Twalla Killins approached the grocery store about 8:30 a.m. Friday, a man leaned out the passenger-side window of a moving car and grabbed her purse.

Killins, 42, was dragged about 40 feet alongside the car before the robbers took off with her purse, police say. She was the fourth woman robbed by two men hitting Hillsborough County parking lots this week, according to authorities.

Police arrested one of the men Friday after a short chase that ended when the driver crashed into a fence at Rome and Oregon avenues. The second man was caught later.

Luis Angel Rodriguez, 27, of Spring Hill and Felix Alexis Nieves, 24, of Tampa face multiple counts of robbery and grand theft auto.

The men are accused of similar drive-by purse snatchings at a Walmart and in the University Mall parking lot on Thursday and at a different Walmart on Friday.

Killins was the only victim dragged alongside a car. She suffered scratches on her head, arms and legs, police say.

A semi-truck driver making a delivery at the Sweetbay Supermarket at 5050 10th Ave. in Tampa where the purse-snatching occurred saw what happened and followed the 1997 Honda Accord in his truck to get the tag number.

When police checked it, they learned that the Accord was stolen. They released a surveillance video hoping someone would recognize the car, but shortly after the robbery, a patrol officer spotted it.

When the officer tried to stop the car, the driver took off before crashing into the fence, police say. The two suspects ran, but a police dog tracked one of them into a vacant apartment. Police later found the other suspect.

Staff writer Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Police: Tampa woman dragged beside car by purse-snatching robber 12/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 10:01pm]
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