UPDATE: Suspected Luzerne County Purse Snatcher Snagged
EDWARDSVILLE — The man charged with snatching four purses from women in Luzerne County is also accused of burglarizing two homes and trying to swipe an envelope full of bank deposits.
Police tell us one man’s crime spree finally ended because his victims were able to get his license plate number.
Brian Smith was arrested early Wednesday morning after police say he stole yet another purse, and then tried grabbing an envelope filled with hundreds of dollars from a person at the Citizens Bank in Kingston.
Smith of Edwardsville was arraigned and charged with two home burglaries in August and for snatching purses from three women over the past month at the West Side Mall.
On Monday, one woman had to be treated for an injury to her hand when she tried holding onto her purse straps as officers say Smith ripped her purse away.
Wednesday afternoon, Smith was brought back to the district judge in Kingston in his new jail jumpsuit to face a new set of robbery charges.
Kingston police say Tuesday afternoon, Smith tried to steal an envelope filled with $1,500 in cash from a man who was walking into the Citizens Bank in Kingston.
About 40 minutes later, police say Smith committed his final crime outside the Gerrity’s on Union Street in Pringle. Officers say Smith walked up to a woman and told her that she had dropped something in the parking lot. When that woman started looking around, officers say Smith grabbed her purse then took off.
Other shoppers at that plaza in Pringle say they are relieved to hear that the man suspected of the purse snatchings is behind bars.
Police say Smith confessed to several of the crimes, saying he used the cash and even credit cards he stole to help pay for his heroin addiction.
“I couldn’t believe it. You can’t go anywhere without being shot or having your purse taken,” said Pat Mackiewicz of Larksville.
Some of the stolen purses were found but several people are out some cash and have to order new credit cards and driver’s licenses.
“If you’re leaving a store, be vigilant. You see someone around your car go back in the store call 911. You just have to watch,” said Edwardsville Police Sgt. Hal Bond.