Thief Snatches Senior Citizen's Purse in Supermarket Parking Lot, Flees Into Cop's Backyard: Police

A man snatched a handbag from a 66-year-old woman inside a Long Island supermarket parking lot and fled, only to run into an off-duty cop's backyard, police say.

Suffolk police say the woman was walking to her car in the parking lot of a Stop and Shop on Fort Salonga Road in Northport at about 12:30 p.m. when a man approached her and began talking to her.

He then grabbed the woman's pocketbook from her arm and began running as bystanders, who heard the victim scream, began to chase after him, according to police.

The thief ran to a residential area along Laurel Road and cut through several backyards, hopping fences along the way, police said. He ended up in the backyard of an off-duty Nassau County police officer, who confronted the suspect.

After a struggle, the suspect broke free and fled, and a short time later, he was caught by police as he walked down Laurel Road.

The suspect, 25-year-old William Wahl of Levittown, was arrested and charged with grand larceny, assault and criminal mischief.

He was being held overnight and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Wahl and the off-duty officer had minor injuries to their hands; the woman was not injured.

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