Police warn be on the lookout for purse snatcher

Dayton's WDTN.com is urging area residents to be on the lookout for a thief who is "terrorizing female shoppers".

Investigators say 32-year-old Janet Hawkinberry snatches purses to get money to feed her drug habit. And they say no matter how many times they catch her, she doesn't stop.

From the story:

    Beavercreek police detective, Jeff Fiorta details 32-year-old Janet Hawkinberry's method of thievery. "What she does is just waits for that moment when the victim is not looking, takes the purse or wallet and takes off running out the store." He says Hawkinberry is a known purse snatcher in the area. "She's not doing a whole lot to cover her activities. She's just desperate for money."

    Investigators have several surveillance clips of her in action. They say she sets up shop in stores like Wal-Mart. After she gets the goods, she's off to shop. "What she does then is she goes to various stores, most of them being here in Beavercreek using the credit cards and checks to purchase property."

    She's been arrested several times before. But police say a drug habit fuels her crime sprees. "Her story to us is she owes some money to drug dealers and in turn she's going out stealing merchandise to pay her drug debt." Hawkinberry is currently out on bail after being locked up on theft and forgery charges. Police want to get the word out about Hawkinberry because they believe she could be responsible for other purse snatchings in the Miami Valley.

Commentary from Senate District 10 Coordinator Larry S. Moore:
This is happening in Beavercreek which one DDN forum audience member described as "a safe community".

This story carries several messages. First is to watch your purse. Take care on how you open your purse, carry your purse, handle your wallet, etc. If you don't know the risks and the right way to accomplish this, then perhaps a "Refuse to be a Victim" course should be in your immediate future. If you are a female, and a CHL-holder who carries, do you carry your handgun in your purse? Sounds like that option should be reviewed.

While newspapers in Youngstown and Cleveland are going to court to get photos of police officers to print, the media in Dayton could have helped us keep an eye out for Janet Hawkinberry - if only we had a photo to know what the purse snatcher looks like. Is "be on the lookout without any photo or physical description" an oxymoron?

Related Story:
Purse Snatcher Targeting Gas Stations

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