Violent purse snatching in three East Tenn. counties may be related

September 3, 2007


KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Police are investigating a string of violent purse snatchings in three counties.

Police tell 6 News there is a good possibility the incidents in Knoxville, Maryville and Lenoir City are related.

"Who would think something like that would happen in a matter of seconds," says Carol Fletcher. 

She was loading her groceries in the parking lot of a Food City in Lenoir City when she was blindsided.

"I saw this car coming right at me and I thought, "Oh my goodness, he is out of control." He hit my buggy and knocked me down," she said.

Police say the collision was not an accident. The man driving stole her purse.

A couple hours later, another purse snatching happened in Maryville. This time in the parking lot of Thunderworld USA Family Fun Center.

A woman was getting out of her car when a man grabbed her by the throat. He tried to take her purse, but she fought back and he ran.

Police believe these two incidents and another incident on Monday are related. 

Charlane Relford says she was attacked in a West Knoxville shopping center.

"He grabbed my purse and my instinct was to grab back. I held on for a stretch and was beating on him to let go, but he sped off, he punched the gas and I flew back and I had to let go," says Relford.

Relford lost her purse and suffered numerous scrapes and bruises.

Maryville police say the suspect is in his mid-20s with collar-length blonde hair and may be driving a silver Subaru car.