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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:04 a.m.

Woman pulled from car and punched during attempted purse-snatching at Ann Arbor park

By Lee Higgins

A woman was pulled out of her car Tuesday night at the Furstenberg Nature Area and punched three times in face by a man who attempted to steal her purse, Ann Arbor police said.

The man ran off and the woman was taken by ambulance to University of Michigan Hospital after flagging down a car and calling 911, police said.

About 5:10 p.m., the Flat Rock woman stopped at the park on Fuller Road just west of Gallup Park to search her car for her cell phone charger because she needed to charge her phone, police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said.

As the woman was in the driver's seat, looking for the charger, police said she had the driver's side door cracked open because it was getting hot in the car.

A man then pulled the woman out of the car, demanded her purse and punched her three times in the face, Bush said.

The woman had the purse around her right arm and the man was unable to take it from her. After the man ran away, the woman went to a nearby intersection, flagged down a car and called 911, Bush said.

The man was described as black, 6 feet tall, 250 pounds, bald and clean-shaven. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants.

Anyone with information can call the police department's tip line at (734) 794-6939.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

Sympathy for this and all victims is what I practice - along with the hope that this and other perpetrators are brought to justice and stopped. Advocating due caution and alertness to everyone is not a political matter. But referring to specific victims when doing so is an act of judgement (and not the good kind). Also: politically based claims for "cures" are at best misleading and at worst toxic: perpetuating the false notion that political parties have "good universal answers" for all of us.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

We wouldn't need more police or more security or more reasons for people to be afraid IF our criminals were treated like criminals instead of "Guests of the Prison system". In other countries a criminal is not given a library, weight room, email, three square meals etc, they are treated as criminals...much like our country USED to! Criminals need to be given a dose of what they hand out! It is pretty sad in this day and age that a person, especially a female, cannot walk where they want, when they want, how far they want or alone because they are afraid of being assaulted or worse! I thought this country was supposed to be "civilized".


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

And you propose that being uncivilized to those who commit a crime will make them civilized? Nothing to read, no education, no attemt at rehabilitation, rotten food given irregularly (I doubt that it is all that good), no communication with the outside world other than what visitors are allowed, no physical activity. That is basically what you just proposed. Seems to me that what would come out of that system would be one very angry person.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

If the only crime in the county this year is a beating that you, personally, get. the crime stats are 100% and then some. One crime doesn't show that crime is up, unless that crime is against you. Sorry, but crime up or down, if you get the beating, who cares about the stats"?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

Yes, caring about stats after the crime occurs makes no sense. Crime stats are naturally low enough that one rarely witnesses a crime, and thus has no constant reminder to take precautions, such as locking doors while in the car.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

It takes both sides of the situation to lower crime. One is to clobber the criminals. The other...which we can control up to a to be careful. Saying that one should exercise caution is not the same as saying the victim is at fault. No sane person would say this woman was at fault. She wasn't. The criminal was there, and he acted. What I am saying is that locked doors help keep unwanted persons outside the car (or house or whatever) and you inside. Try to keep doors locked and windows closed especially when you stop the car. Also, try to stop at a place where there are other people around, which provides more security. Caution is one thing you can use to protect yourself againse these hyenas. I hope you are okay; though, as said above, this will be hard to forget. But even big, strong young men and women need to be cautious about open doors and windows. I don't care where you are. The criminal gets in his car and goes there, and you are not safe. Be careful.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

A crime of opportunity? yes, but the thugs also know that with the decline in officers, response time is longer perhaps and the "opportunity" here is the time to get-away. People need to ask why officers have to go to Stone School and Elsworth to use the Police Locker-room instead of City Hall...that is a waste of time for all.

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

I am a big proponent of carrying pepper spray. However, if someone grabs your hair by surprise from behind, your chances of deploying the spray are extremely slim.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

In this case, it sounds like, she would not have had time to even grab for the pepper spray I would think. It seems to me that it could only be effective if you have it in your hand and the circumstances are such that you get a chance to use it. I don't fancy myself being able to overpower someone who is intent on mugging me. I would put up a good fight however.

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

How many police would it have taken to stop this crime? One on every corner? Out in the fields? Out in the woods? In every park? In every alley?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

@my land...Please explain how many more officers would be needed to stop such a crime of opportunity? Scumbags are out there and will take advantage of a situation. The police cannot be everywhere.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Crimes of opportunity will occur regardless of how many police are on the force. The police will catch this guy. I would not be surprised if more facts come out.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

It's nice people are so willing to blame the victim here. This summer, women were blamed because most of the assaults happened after midnight. Now they're to blame even if they open their car doors around sunset. Let's put them in burqas and make sure they never get out unless it's to do the shopping. Or... We could ask our court system to put criminals in jail rather than slapping them on the wrists and pretending they're just like everyone else.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

justcurious - Crime is not up. Major crimes are down. The world you paint is desperate and dangerous. I do not see the world are you do. Times are hard, yes. But most people do not take to drugs and violence. Give humanity a break.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

I don't think people are blaming a victim here. People on here are encouraging people to use precautions so as not to become a victim. It is not safe to walk the streets of Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti alone at night anymore. Crime is up. More people are desperate and on drugs. More people are drinking. Domestic assault is rampant. Common sense dictates that we do some things to protect ourselves. A man who's unemployment has run out and who has children to feed just may find a way to get what he needs. Don't let it be you that he gets it from. That is what I hear people saying.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

I don't see where anyone is blaming the victim.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

How awful! Thank you for the article and for the description of the perpetrator. It helps us to be more aware. My husband gave me two things for my car just in case something like this ever happens to me. Pepper spray that I keep on a little ledge under my radio dials and a very large, heavy flashlight that can also be used as a club that sits tucked between the driver's seat and the car door. I can also use that to break my window if I ever end up in water. I really hope they find this guy.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Mayor says crime is down. The Ann Arbor Observers showers accolades upon the AAPD and yet women are being sexually assaulted and robbed on a weekly basis? Considering the property taxes we're all paying, I'd expect a bit more return on our investment? Contact: City of Ann Arbor Police Department 301 E. Huron Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (734) 794-6900 Let them know that these type of assaults against citizens (especially women) have to stop immediately.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

This was a crime of opportunity and more police would not likely have any impact on this type of crime.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

I think the police get that these crimes need to stop, and I am sure they are doing their best to protect the folks. Relax. Instead of writing letters and complaining on a forum board, why not use your energy to get a neighborhood watch group together in your area and help out instead of trying to take up the departments valuable time flooding them with complaint letters.

Smart Logic

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

"I take that paper?"


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Wow, how scary! She was trying to be responsible by pulling over to look for her charger (you know a lot of people would try and keep driving with one hand/knee while trying to find it) and this happens. Well I'm glad she got away and nothing worse happened. I hope she has a quick recovery.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

"police said she had the driver's side door cracked open because it was getting hot in the car." hmmmm... it was coooold, windy and rainy in Ann Arbor yesterday. Maybe turn the heat off it it was hot "The woman had the purse around her right arm" while looking around the car for her phone charger? kind of cumbersome I'd say. At any rate, nothing was managed to be taken by this very large man. Hopefully she fully recovers.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

Good call Dot.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

The charger might have been in her purse, so maybe she was looking for it in there. Sometimes it's easier to look through it if you keep it on your arm because it keeps the one strap out of the way and falls open easier. Just a theory....


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

I too heard it on the scanner. They said she was pulled out of the car by her hair. Women, please think first and be aware of your surroundings at all times. I just received the pepper spray that I ordered. No guarantee that I would get a chance to use it if needed though.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Think!, I still believe that most women are more vulnerable to attack than men are.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Why do only women need to "think first and be aware of your surroundings at all times."? Are men invincible?

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

I think this is the wrong reaction, I believe that the Police should do their job. This could have been your sister, a daughter, a mother, a grandparent, or an aunt. This is simply unacceptable. I hold the AAPD and the Mayor accountable.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

@cinnabar.........Kimber brand lol I got that one


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

I hope you got the Kimber brand, good stuff.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Hopefully the woman is OK. I hope she doesn't suffer any trama when she drives through Ann Arbor and sees the $750,000 waste of money which could have been spent on something like public safety had it not been for the existing mayor and his meery band of council members. Oh yes, the mayor will say the money can't be spend on things like public safety because it was designated funds.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Are you proposing that we have enough police to sit in parks every day, doing nothing, until a crime occurs? Your suggestion that this crime would not have been committed had we more police is ridiculous.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

I heard this on the scanner, yeah, crime is down my big foot! Police had a very busy night, accidents, OD's and sucides or attemped. I hope the lady will be OK, and they catch this thug.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

How many years have you been listening to the scanner? I assume you've kept your own stats. If the outside world is only viewed via police scanners and crime pages then it is indeed a dangerous place.

Berda Green

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

that so sad glad she is ok hope they catch him they got room for him at the count y jail

Roy Munson

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Just like I do in Detroit, I never drive around Ann Arbor without making sure my doors are locked. Oh wait, the mayor says "Crime is down!!!"