Video shows woman fight off purse-snatcher as police warn of violent thefts outside CT stores

Two days after a woman was dragged by a purse-snatcher in broad daylight — an incident captured on video — a 71-year-old was knocked to the ground outside a Connecticut Walmart on Monday, police said.

Police said neither woman was seriously injured and both were targeted in store parking lots by thieves in stolen cars. They are two of a recent string of violent robberies, although Southington Police Lt. Keith Egan said it wasn't clear Monday if the purse-snatchings are connected.

The Southington purse-snatching happened about 10 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of Walmart, 235 Queen St., according to Egan.

He said a woman said she was walking in the parking lot toward the store when a white Nissan Altima approached. The front-seat passenger got out and "forcefully ripped the purse from the victim, knocking her to the ground, before returning to the Altima," Egan said.

The woman was able to get up and approach the car, but she was almost knocked down a second time, he said. The car, which was stolen and had Rhode Island plates 1EC52, fled from the scene, he said.

Wallingford police released the surveillance video of an attempted purse-snatching that occurred outside a Stop & Shop on Saturday in hopes someone might recognize the car, which was stolen from its owner in North Haven 90 minutes earlier.

According to Officer Alex Torres of the Wallingford Police Department, the victim had minor injuries and was able to get her purse back.  It was at least the second purse-snatching in New Haven County in a week and there have been at least four in Connecticut this month.

The thief was described as a thin Black man in his early 20s, about 6 feet tall and wearing gray shorts, a black jacket and a blue do-rag, Torres said. He was in the passenger seat of a silver, four-door 2014 BMW with license plate AH38573. There was no description provided for the driver.

Torres said the attempted robbery happened about 1 p.m. Saturday at the Stop & Shop at 930 N. Colony Road as the woman was putting her groceries into her car. The BMW stopped about one car length past her, and the passenger got out.

He grabbed the woman’s purse, which was in the shopping card, Torres said. He ran back to the BMW, but while he was getting back in the car, the woman caught up, reached into the BMW and grabbed her purse, Torres said.

The two struggled, and the driver began to take off, dragging the woman a short distance, Torres said. He said the car then stopped, and the passenger pushed the woman — who was still holding on to the pocketbook — away from the car, which pulled away.

The victim ran between parked cars as she saw the BMW circle the lot and eventually exit toward North Main Street, he said.

The attempted purse-snatching and other similar violent thefts prompted Wallingford police to urge customers to use caution when shopping at local stores and getting gas.

Other recent incidents include another purse-snatching in New Haven County and one in Fairfield County.

In North Haven Thursday morning, three teenage boys led officers on a chase in a stolen SUV after grabbing an 18-year’s purse with enough force that she fell to the ground, police said. She was not seriously injured.

On Jan. 11, a n 18-year-old pushed a 68-year-old woman to the ground in Stamford, breaking her nose, and stole her tote, city police said. He pedaled away on a bicycle. Police tracked the suspect down by reviewing security camera footage.

They recovered the stolen bag, which was missing cash, a cellphone and two credit cards. Investigators then found a man fitting the robber’s description and saw that he had the missing phone.

Anyone with information about the car or suspects in the Wallingford robbery may contact Wallingford Police Patrol Division at 203-294-2800 or at .

Those with information about the Southington theft may call the Southington Police Department at 860-621-0101.

Christine Dempsey may be reached at