May 25, 2015 4:20 PM

Portsmouth teen accused of stealing elderly woman's purse

PORTSMOUTH - A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with the theft of an elderly woman's purse, allegedly taken out of her carriage as she loaded shopping bags into her car outside a Walmart.

The teen, who police aren't identifying due to his age, was caught after someone recognized him in surveillance video posted to the Portsmouth Police Department's Facebook page on Monday morning.

According to Sgt. David Keaveny, the teen watched the 80-year-old woman as she left the Route One store Friday, following her out to her car in the parking lot.

Surveillance video shows the teen allegedly grab the purse and run off. Further video shows the teen later return to the store without the purse, but he appears to leave with items a short time later.

Authorities think the teen may have ditched the purse, but kept the money inside to go shopping at the store.

Police said the purse ended up being found on Banfield Road nearby, and was partially destroyed.

The juvenile was identified less than two hours after the department posted the video to their Facebook page.

Shoppers at the store said they had their guard up on Monday.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen," said Pam Gruszczynski. "No matter where you go. It’s too bad.”

The teen suspect is scheduled for a court appearance at Portsmouth District Family Court. Keaveny said he could face additional charges.

Portsmouth Police are still asking for any witnesses to come forward with any additional information that may be available.

If you can help, contact Officer Chrissy Meyer at (603) 610-7514 or leave an anonymous tip at 603-431-1199.


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