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Stamford police: Have you seen this purse snatcher?

January 25, 2019

STAMFORD — Police are looking for a man they say tore a purse off a woman’s shoulder on lower Summer Street.

Police say they have an arrest warrant for Ronald Johnson Jr., 54, charging him with third-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and conspiracy at illegal use of a credit card. Johnson is a light skinned black man, about 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds who wears glasses.

Sgt. Chris Broems said Johnson is known to frequent Stamford, Norwalk and New Haven and has a long criminal history that includes robberies and burglaries.

Police on Wednesday found a man they say Johnson gave two credit cards to that were taken out of the stolen purse.

Michael Vasquez, 32, of Hartford, was charged with forgery, criminal impersonation and illegal use of a credit card. He is being held in lieu of a $25,000 court appearance bond.

According to Vasquez’s three-page arrest affidavit, a 38-year-old woman was walking down an alley on Summer Street just below Broad Street heading to the Target parking lot when she heard someone running up behind her around 9:20 p.m. on. Jan. 7.

As she turned, the man grabbed her cellphone and her purse. The woman fought the thief and was able to maintain control of the phone, but the strap on her purse broke.

The man ripped the purse from her possession and the woman fell hard to the ground.

About five hours later, two of the woman’s credit cards were used to purchase 40 packs of Newport cigarettes at the Shell gas station on the corner of West Avenue and Grenhart Road.

Police said surveillance video at the gas station showed a man fitting Johnson’s description wearing a blue jacket and tan pants at 2:25 a.m. the following morning handing the credit cards to the Hispanic man who bought the cigarettes, along with a can of Red Bull.

Police used the footage to identify Vasquez as the man who made the purchase, the arrest affidavit says.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts can call police investigators at 203-977-4420.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

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