WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A alleged serial purse snatcher has stolen from women at grocery stores all over the metro area, and now police say he’s taken a lot more than just pocketbooks.
Jefferson County deputies arrested Timothy Browne, 43, last week after an elderly woman’s purse was stolen at a King Soopers in Wheat Ridge. Police say he’s also hit stores in Lakewood, Broomfield, and Arvada.
Investigators say Browne stole purses from grocery carts and then stole the victims’ identities. They say he’s targeted at least six women in the last month alone.
The string came to an end when deputies caught Browne with a little help. Investigators say he took a woman’s purse when she wasn’t looking. But what Browne didn’t know was that other shoppers were watching and they called in the car he was driving to police.
“Then it gets interesting,” Mark Techmeyer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.
Techmeyer said one of their investigators just happened to be in the area, heard the call on his police radio, and spotted the car Browne was driving. Deputies pulled him over. Techmeyer said a stolen purse was just the beginning of what they found.
“It turns out the Isuzu Rodeo was stolen out of Wheat Ridge and then on top of that, within the car itself, was quite a bit of property from other people,” Techmeyer said. “And in his hotel room where he was living was more property that related back to six different cases involving purse snatches from shopping carts.”
Almost all the victims were senior citizens.
“It’s loathsome to steal someone’s purse out of a shopping cart, but when you target a demographic that should be, in our society, cherished and respected, and they’re considered at-risk adults because of their age, it’s disgusting,” Techmeyer said.
Browne’s criminal history includes dozens of charges for everything from burglary to drug possession. He was just released from prison in May.