STOCKTON - Two middle-aged women were knocked to the ground by a much-younger man intent on robbing them of their purses in two separate assaults Sunday afternoon in north Stockton shopping areas, police reported.
"Officers are looking to see if both incidents are related as the suspect targeted women with purses," Police Department spokesman Officer Joe Silva said Monday. In both instances, the primary suspect was described as a man between 20 and 25 years old wearing dark clothing. He remains at large.
The first incident occurred as a 59-year-old woman was loading groceries into her vehicle about 4:40 p.m. in the 8000 block of West Lane, just north of East Hammer Lane.
A silver sport utility vehicle pulled up next to the woman. The suspect got out of the passenger side and immediately grabbed the woman’s purse, knocking her to the ground. He then got back into the SUV driven by an unidentified male and they fled the scene, according to police.
The woman was not reported injured.
The second incident occurred less than two blocks away and a little more than an hour later at 5:55 p.m. as a 53-year-old woman was ordering food from a business in the 1200 block of East Hammer, just west of West Lane.
A man described similarly to the first suspect approached the woman and attempted to grab her purse from around her shoulders, but the woman managed to hold on to it. The man then pulled the woman down and dragged her along the ground until she let go. She was not reported injured, according to police.
In the second robbery, no other person or vehicle was reported involved.
"We would like to remind people when you are out shopping, being aware is your best tool," Silva said.
"Also, if possible, please leave your purse at home. Bring items that you really need and put them in your pocket," he said.
The public’s help is being sought. If you have information, contact the Stockton Police Department non-emergency number at (209) 937-8377 or the Investigations Division at (209) 937-8323.
Anonymous tips to Stockton Crime Stoppers can be made by going online to StocktonPD.org; calling Stockton Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600; or downloading the P3 Tips mobile app. Stockton Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward up to $10,000 for any information that leads to arrest.
Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.