Elderly woman hurt in violent purse snatching

3 witnesses called police, provided a description, and one followed the getaway car

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An elderly woman was hurt in a violent purse-snatching in Springfield Monday night, and members of the public helped police identify and arrest the robbers.

Springfield Police Lt Mark Rolland told 22News a man grabbed the 77-year-old victim’s pocketbook the parking lot between a pharmacy and a supermarket on Cooley Street.

Three witnesses called 9-1-1 after they heard the woman screaming.

“I saw a young gentleman  pulling a woman’s carriage with the purse still attached,” Hampden resident Desirae Johnson told 22News.  “I saw him holding the purse, and thinking she was… she actually broke her fingers from holding the purse.  Like her middle finger is purple!  She’s gotta go to the emergency room after.”

Lt. Rolland confirmed that an ambulance was called, but the victim was treated without going to the hospital.

Johnson and two other witnesses provided a description of the suspect and the license number of the car he got into.  Lt Rolland said one of the witnesses even followed the car and helped police locate it.

“The public helped out tremendously.  Kudos to the Public!” Lt. Rolland said.

Police arrested two men; one the suspect, the other the getaway driver.

Lt. Rolland said first year “rookie” police officer Thomas Day arrested the suspected purse snatcher, the passenger in the car.  He said Officer Orette JoSang chased the driver who ran away from the getaway car.  Rolland said Officer JoSang tackled the suspect, and arrested him after a  lengthy foot pursuit.

Lt. Rolland said both suspects are “well known to police.”