NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police in Suffolk County said they arrested a man Wednesday for allegedly stealing a purse from a senior citizen.
According to authorities, the 66-year-old female victim was walking to her car in the parking lot of the Stop and Shop at 454 Fort Salonga Rd. in Northport around 12:25 p.m. when a man — identified by police as William Wahl — walked up to her, spoke to her, and then grabbed her pocketbook from her arm and fled on foot.
The woman screamed and several bystanders chased after Wahl.
The 25-year-old continued to run through residential backyards along Laurel Road in Northport, and even ran into the backyard of an off-duty Nassau County Police Department officer, according to officials.
Police said a struggle ensued with the off-duty officer, but Wahl was able to break free and flee the yard.
Suffolk police dispatched officers on the ground, as well as a canine unit and aviation officers to assist in the search.
Authorities said around 1:05 p.m. Officer James Magyar noticed a man who fit Wahl’s description walking down Laurel Road near Laurel Court. After an investigation, Magyar arrested Wahl for the pocketbook theft.
Wahl was treated at Huntington Hospital for cuts on his hands suffered while climbing fences. The off-duty officer was also taken to a local hospital with minor injuries to his hands. The female victim was not injured.
Wahl, of Levittown, was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Police said he will be held overnight and is expected to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Thursday.
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