Elder thief? Alleged purse snatcher hits pedestrian
A man wearing construction clothes allegedly grabbed a purse while in a UVA building June 29 and fled, plowing into a pursuing university employee with his car.
Robert Smith, 59, of 802-M Hardy Drive, is charged with malicious wounding, breaking and entering, and grand larceny.
According to police, Smith went into 918 Emmet Street, took the purse and was chased by its owner, who alerted others to the theft. Another UVA employee stood in front of Smith's green Chevy Cavalier and went over the hood when Smith didn't stop, says Lieutenant Melissa Fielding with UVA Police. The employee was treated and released at UVA Medical Center.
Police discourage standing in front of a fleeing suspect's vehicle, says Fielding. "Get the license number, a description of the suspect, and the direction the car is headed," she advises. "But any physical intervention is dangerous."
On June 30, Smith was arrested at his home in a public housing project (which, incidentally, may soon be redeveloped), and was being held without bond at press time. He has no connection with the University of Virginia, says Fielding, and at age 59, is "outside the profile of our typcial larceny suspect."