NEW PORT RICHEY — A 26-year-old man has been charged with a string of purse snatchings in supermarket parking lots.
On at least six occasions, Pasco County Sheriff's Office reports state, Johnathan Leo Becude grabbed a shopper's purse as she was loading groceries into her car. Each time he hit a new location: the Winn-Dixie in Moon Lake, the Walmart in Hudson, a Publix on Little Road, the Sweetbay in New Port Richey, another Publix on Ridge Road, and a Land O'Lakes Publix.
A seventh woman, who was shopping at the New Port Richey Walmart, managed to grab her purse and was dragged several feet before Becude let go and fled, authorities said.
All of the victims described the same getaway car: an older model white car with a plastic bag covering the missing passenger's side window. All told, the stolen purses and their contents were worth $2,744. Deputies say Becude also used some of the stolen credit cards for fraudulent purchases.
Becude, of Shady Hills, was arrested Jan. 13 on numerous charges including grand theft, robbery by sudden snatching, possession and fraudulent use of stolen credit cards. He is also being held on grand theft warrants out of Hernando County. He remained Tuesday at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $147,150 bail.