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2 suspected of thefts are arrested after chase

A couple accused of trying to snatch purses Sunday at the Citrus Park Plaza were caught after leading Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies on a short car chase.

The man and teenage girl fled on foot after abandoning their stolen vehicle at Bearss Avenue and Interstate 275, but were caught by deputies, the Sheriff's Office said.

Akbar Jackson, 23, of Tampa was charged with two counts of robbery, grand theft, petty theft, resisting arrest, driving without a valid driver's license and aggravated fleeing and eluding. He was released after posting $16,350 bail.

A 16-year-old from Sulphur Springs was charged with two counts of robbery, petty theft and resisting arrest without violence. She was sent to the Juvenile Assessment Center. No information on her status was available.

The victims _ Amada Morris, 39, of Carrollwood and Marie Fontana, 49, of Odessa _ were not injured.

Deputies said Morris was attacked around 1:10 p.m. as the couple passed by in a Plymouth van they allegedly stole from the parking lot. Akbar Jackson allegedly reached out for Morris' purse, but the strap broke and they fled without it.

About an hour later they allegedly stole Fontana's purse off her shoulder. Fontana called 911; deputies spotted the car and arrested the suspects about five minutes later, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder said. The stolen purse and its contents were recovered and returned to Fontana.

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