Purse-snatcher allegedly stole, crash elderly woman’s car, Las Cruces police say

Crime

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – A purse-snatcher was allegedly caught on video taking a 79-year-old woman’s purse from her shopping cart and stealing her vehicle las week.

Melanie Joy Perez, 25, is facing charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and criminal damage to property, both a felony, as well as larceny, resisting an officer, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to notify the owner upon striking property and driving while license is suspended or revoked, a police department news release said.

Police said on Dec. 3 she was seen on surveillance video talking to a 79-year-old woman at the Albertsons at 2501 N. Main St. She asked the woman several questions and then when the elderly woman turned her attention, Perez grabbed the purse and left, police said in the release.

“She then, presumably, located the victim’s white Honda Accord in the parking lot and stole it,” the release said.

Two days later, Las Cruces Police officers saw the stolen car at a motel on S. Valley Drive. It sped away and a second officer saw the car crash in the 1100 block of S. Valley Drive, the release said.

The driver was identified as Perez and she allegedly tried to run away on foot but was arrested, the release said. She was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center where she was held without bond.

The crash “totaled” the victim’s car, police said.

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