Hamden police: Getaway driver, 16, arrested after violent purse snatching

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A 16-year-old New Haven boy was arrested on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in connection with a purse snatching in Hamden, Conn., on May 17. He was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny and assault on an elderly person.

A 16-year-old New Haven boy was arrested on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in connection with a purse snatching in Hamden, Conn., on May 17. He was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny and assault on an elderly person.

Ben Lambert / Hearst Connecticut Media

HAMDEN — A New Haven teen has been charged in connection with his role in driving a stolen getaway car after an alleged assault on an older woman last month, police said Thursday.

Capt. Ronald Smith said the arrest stemmed from an incident on May 17 in the Hamden Plaza at 2100 Dixwell Ave.

Officers that day responded to a report of a street robbery and found an 85-year-old woman who had been assaulted, Smith said.

The woman told officers she was putting her groceries into her vehicle when she was approached from behind by a teenager wearing a face mask, Smith said. That individual was described by police as a 16-year-old juvenile. Smith said the teen grabbed the shoulder strap of the victim’s purse and she was “violently pulled to the ground.”

Smith said the impact caused injuries to the woman’s hand, knees and shoulder. She was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital, where she was treated for a fractured shoulder, Smith said.

The teen who took her purse got away with $60, credit cards and the victim’s house keys, according to Smith.

The boy got into a stolen car, which Smith said was being driven by another 16-year-old juvenile. Smith said the driver sped away from the area.

Detective Joseph Liguori launched what Smith described as an extensive investigation, which led to the application for an arrest warrant for the juvenile driver.

The 16-year-old driver, a New Haven resident, was brought to police headquarters by a family member on Thursday.

He was taken into custody and charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny and assault on an elderly person. The teen was transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

Smith said the teen arrested Thursday was “the operator of the stolen motor vehicle. He did not grab the elderly victim’s purse.” Smith confirmed the individual accused of taking the purse remains at large.

The investigation is ongoing.