L.I. Purse Snatchers Strike Again

Suspects target women in their driveways

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork
    A sketch of the suspect police are looking for in the drive way robberies.

    The suspects who serially steal purses from Long Island women in their driveways have struck again.

    Nassau County police confirmed two more incidents Thursday night that fit the previous pattern. That brings the total to at least nine women in the county who have been mugged in their own driveways since late October, police said. In each case, their purse was stolen.

    Purse Snatcher Strikes Again

    [NY] Purse Snatcher Strikes Again
    Long Island Purse Snatcher robs two others

    One of the latest incidents happened in Bellmore; the other in North Merrick. In each case, a man trailed the victim from an area train station to her driveway. Both women, in their 20s and 30s, screamed when confronted by the mugger, who fled without the loot, police said. A third incident in Elmont does not appear to fit the pattern, police said.

    The serial nature of the crimes -- and the "safe place" in which they're committed against the victim -- are inspiring rampant fear in the community.

    "The lady was screaming and her husband went after the guy in his car," said Anna Dockweiler of East Meadow, who heard one attack in her neighbor's driveway. "It's bad out there."

    Two men are believed responsible for the attacks and Nassau police have released a sketch of one, wearing a hooded sweat shirt.

    He's described as a black male with a thin build, about 20 years old, standing 5'5" tall. The other attacker is also a black male, 20 to 25 years of age and standing about six feet tall.

    Police are now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. They have never displayed any weapons, police said; but have been violent with their victims.

    "In some cases, the women have been shoved to the ground if they put up any resistance at all," said Nassau police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith.

    The attackers have struck in six Nassau county communities- Baldwin, North Merrick, Merrick, East Meadow, Levittown and Wantagh, Lt. Smith said.

    In each case, it appeared they followed their victims home, possibly after they left stores along nearby Hempstead Turnpike. The men are said to be driving a dark, four-door sedan.

    Most of the attacks occurred between seven and eleven at night.

    "It's scary," said Martha Weissman of Levittown, as she loaded groceries into her car outside a supermarket. "We're helpless because we're not as strong as they are."

    Outside one victim's home in Levittown, two neighbors said everyone is now watching each others back.

    "I worry about that all the time now," said Tom Ciccone. "My wife comes out at night and I have to think about that and keep an eye on her."

    Anyone with information on the purse snatchers is asked to call Nassau Police at 1-800-244-TIPS.

    Women arriving home at night are advised to remain vigilant- watch for anyone following you and look around before getting out of your car.  And try to ensure that lights are on outside your house before you arrive.

    Anna Dockweiler had another protection plan.

    "Anyone coming to my door that I don't know, I am going to have a large object in my hand to hit them right in the head," she said.

    Still more fight than fear from a fed up 81-year-old.