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TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007
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Police say woman grabbed, robbed outside Kroger

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com · 340-2355

Decatur police said a robber grabbed a woman and began a struggle for her purse in the Kroger parking lot Sunday night.

The 37-year-old victim was putting her child in the car seat in the back seat of her vehicle when the man came up behind her and grabbed her around the waist, according to police spokesman Lt. Frank Debuty.

Debuty said the man reached into the car and grabbed the woman’s purse, but the victim refused to let go and began to scream.

Witnesses helped

“It was about 8:45 p.m., so there were witnesses coming in and out of Kmart and Kroger. Two started coming to her aid ... and that’s when he hit the trail,” Debuty said.

Detective Sgt. Rick Archer said the man threw the woman to the ground and headed toward U.S. 31 South.

The woman later discovered $60 cash missing from her purse.

Authorities combed the area, but the robber eluded them at first, Archer said.

Patrol officers continued the search into the night.

About five hours after the robbery and less than a mile from the scene, patrol Sgt. Randy Cavnar spotted a man matching the robber’s description at the Stay Lodge on U.S. 31 South, Archer said.

“He was loitering in the area and attempted to elude officers as they approached,” Archer said.

“Other officers arrived to assist and they were successful in clearing the area, locating and detaining him.”

False information

The man, Michael Anthony Johnson, 42, was arrested on a charge of giving false information to police for allegedly lying about his address.

Archer said he charged Johnson with third-degree robbery after further investigation “revealed that Johnson was indeed the same man.”

Johnson remained in Morgan County Jail late Monday in lieu of $1,500 bond.

Archer said police received reports of a man matching Johnson’s description loitering in the Kroger parking lot much of the day.

“There were some witnesses who reported seeing him in that area. We’re still in the process of speaking to other witnesses,” he said.

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