According to the Sun-Sentinel, a man snatched a woman’s purse in the Broward Mall, located in Plantation, Florida. Before letting the woman go, the man dragged her 10 feet causing injury to her hand and finger. The man is described as being about 18 years old and 5’7″. He supposedly fled in a tan pickup truck that was waiting for him.
Contrary to popular misconception, purse snatching is actually a very serious felony, especially when the alleged victim sustains an injury. If caught, the thief in question would be charged with “Strong Arm Robbery” and would be facing up to 15 years in prison. This steep sanction exists because the law considers purse snatching more a crime of violence than an act of theft.
The person driving the pickup truck may also be charged. While it is presently unclear whether or not the driver was a knowing participant, police and prosecutors would have to prove that the driver of the truck knowingly participated in the crime in order to sustain a charge. In other words, if the duo acted in unison, then the driver would also be facing serious charges. He might be charged with conspiracy or as an accessory after the fact.
However, crimes like purse snatching are often times crimes of opportunity. If the purse snatcher was on his way out of the mall to meet his ride, saw the woman, and then made a unilateral decision to snatch her purse, then the driver would obviously not be criminally liable because he or she did not knowingly participate in the crime.
Given the relative low value of the bounty captured compared to the possibility of facing up to 15 years in prison, purse snatching is really a crime for the exponentially stupid or the truly ignorant.
My advice to this purse snatcher is to immediately stop. These cases are hard to defend and the possibility of a stiff prison sentence is very real.