Purse theft attempt at Wal-Mart, pizza girl robbed

Published 10:48 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

An attempted purse snatching incident at Wal-Mart involved a suspect arrested in a previous purse theft at the same store weeks earlier, while a pizza delivery girl was robbed by a juvenile who is being charged as an adult.

On April 13, at about 3:35 p.m. a 19 year-old man walked up to a woman in the parking lot of Wal-Mart and attempted to take her purse, said Det. Ray Rickoll.

The victim pulled back on the purse and pushed the panic button on her car key remote, setting off the alarm in the vehicle. Witnesses in the parking lot turned to look and a couple of them walked over to the victim. The suspect, later identified as Daryl Griffin II, 19, of 12 Lakeside Cove, Carriere, ran back to his car where Wyatt Mitchell, 19, of 206 W Sycamore Rd., was waiting in the passenger seat, said Det. Blaine Heath.

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As the suspects pulled out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed, witnesses wrote down the tag number, which was listed to Griffin. Rickoll said he spoke with witnesses at the scene who helped him identify Griffin as a suspect. Griffin was picked up at his home on the charge of attempted strong arm robbery.

Mitchell was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and accessory before the fact. Rickoll said investigation showed that Mitchell had allegedly talked Griffin into committing the crime.

A previous incident of a stolen purse also involved Mitchell. That incident took place late in March. On that day, a customer shopping in the store left her purse in her cart and turned away from it. Mitchell allegedly took the purse from the cart and ran out of the store. The victim, noticing Mitchell taking her purse, cried out that her purse had been taken and another customer chased Mitchell out of the store. He was apprehended later at his home and charged with petit larceny. The purse was recovered but missing three credit cards, which had already been canceled.

A pizza delivery girl was robbed of her pizza, hot wings and her money bag on April 7. Police Chief Jim Luke said that the department received a call of a robbery that occurred on Lewis Circle. The officers responded to Highland Community Hospital where the delivery girl was being treated for an injury to the back of her head.

The girl told that officers about how she was delivering an order to 611 Lewis Circle and was robbed. She told them that as she approached the residence, she noticed there were no lights on but she did see a man sitting on the porch. The man indicated the order was for him and asked the girl to give him change for $50. When she went to get him change she heard a voice behind her and was struck in the back of the head by a second person. The girl then threw the food and her money on the ground and fled for her car. The girl drove herself to Highland and called Papa John’s to report the crime.

Investigators later found no one lives at the residence, Luke said.

Heath said an investigation established 16 year-old Leon Washington of 161 Eloise St. Nicholson as the suspect who took the food and money. He was arrested for strong arm robbery and is being charged as an adult. Heath said the second man involved in the pizza delivery robbery is not being charged in this incident since his involvement was limited.

Washington was previously arrested and charged as an adult for his alleged involvement in an aggravated assault that involved a weapon. That incident took place in February when Washington allegedly was part of a group that beat another juvenile by striking him the face with a gun. Someone in Washington’s group allegedly fired shots at the juvenile and the group he was with as they tried to run away, according to a previous story in the Picayune Item.