Delaware State Police

Troopers Investigate Purse Snatching


Presented by the Director of Public Information Sergeant Richard D. Bratz

Wilmington, DE – Troopers are investigating a purse snatching that occurred yesterday in the parking lot of the Maryland Avenue and the Boxwood Shopping Center.

The preliminary investigation has determined the incident occurred at approximately 6:34 p.m., Sunday, February 5, 2017, as a 49-year-old female was walking out of the Rite Aid located at 636 South Maryland Avenue. The male approached the victim from behind and pushed her down and stole her purse. The victim attempted to follow the suspect however lost sight of him as he fled on foot eastbound on Maryland Avenue. The victim was not injured.

The suspect was described as a black male in his 40’s, approximately 5’10”tall, wearing dark clothing. There are no surveillance photos available.

The Delaware State Police would like to offer these safety tips:

  • Be aware of the area and the people, especially if you find yourself having to walk in an isolated or lightly populated area. Look at the person who might approach or pass you. Do not look away. Look directly at their hands or at what they might be carrying. They prefer to strike and run, and not be recognized. If you do not appear to be vulnerable and will be able to give their description, they just might keep walking past you.
  • Walk in busy, well-lit areas. You may think that you’re exposing yourself to more purse snatchers, but they are more likely to strike in dark, isolated areas because they don’t want to get caught. Walk briskly and confidently. Bring a friend.
  • Hold your purse tightly and close to your body, whether on a bus, train, or walking. If possible, wear it underneath a coat or jacket. Also, secure the latch or zipper. You might be tempted to wear your purse diagonally on your body (over the neck as well as the shoulder) or loop the strap around your wrist to prevent the purse from being easily snatched, but keep in mind that if someone does try to steal your purse, a hard yank on tightly wound purse strap can cause injury.
  • Report anything or anyone suspicious. If you suspect that someone seems to be lurking someplace that they do not belong, contact security if you are in a mall, or contact the manager if you are in a supermarket. Better to report your suspicions and be wrong, than to ignore it and be robbed or hurt.
  • Clutch your purse the way a football player carries a football. Hug it to your ribs with one arm – away from the curb to avoid motorcycle or car drive-by purse snatching grabs. But if a purse-snatcher does grab it, give it up, then yell for help as you run to safety. Do NOT risk injury by fighting for your purse.
  • Keep your keys in a pocket so you won’t lose them along with your name and address in your purse.

If anyone has any information in reference to this incident they are asked to contact Troop 2 at 302-365-8442 or 302-365-8566. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

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Released: 020617 1351

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