Alton police search for suspect following purse theft, high-spee -

Alton police search for suspect following purse theft, high-speed pursuit

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By Belo Content KMOV By Belo Content KMOV

(KMOV) – Police in Alton continue their search for a man who led them on a high-speed pursuit Friday after allegedly stealing the purse of an online-arranged date.

According to authorities, the 31-year-old victim had set up a date with the Missouri man through a “social website” on Friday, September 20, 2013.  The two prearranged to meet at an East Broadway restaurant.

From there, police said the two decided he would drive to Vera’s Tavern on Oakwood located at 1043 Oakwood Road.

After arriving at the tavern parking lot, the woman got out of the man’s vehicle and reached back to get her purse from off the dashboard when he sped off according to Capt. Scott Waldrup of the Alton Police Department.

"He tore out of there and knocked her down, and a witness on the lot told her to 'hop in with me,'" with the victim then getting into the car with the man.

The two began following the suspect west on Oakwood to Alton Square Mall Drive, turning onto Martin Luther King Drive and on to Piasa Street, then Landmarks, as the woman called police.

Responding officers suspected the Missourian might be headed to the Clark Bridge and rushed to the area, Waldrup said.

When officers attempted to stop the suspect with stop-sticks, he struck the front passenger side of a police SUV.

"He continued fleeing across the bridge with several units in pursuit, who radioed Missouri authorities," Waldrup said. "They were chasing him at a high rate of speed on (Missouri Highway) 367 to (Interstate 270). He was going 90 to 100 miles per hour."

The passenger inside the police SUV was not hurt.  However, the vehicle stopped running a short distance later on the Clark Bridge during the pursuit.

The suspect suddenly turned off into a residential area once in North County and Alton police were forced to no longer pursue because of the danger the suspect’s high speed posed, Waldrup said.

The suspect is described as a black man in his late 20’s, 5’ 9 tall and weighing around 220 pounds, with a mustache.  He was last seen wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans.

The suspect’s vehicle is a silver GMC Yukon with a temporary registration tag.

If identified, the suspect will face felonies and a slew of traffic offenses, according to authorities.

Among those charges could be fleeing in an attempt to elude police; reckless driving; robbery; and criminal damage to state-supported property, Waldrup said.

Authorities hope to obtain additional evidence from a surveillance camera at the man and woman’s initial meeting place.

According to authorities, the woman’s purse contained about $70, a cellphone, and debit/credit cards.

The investigation is ongoing.

Stay with News 4 and for further information as it becomes available.

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