Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 31, 2013

2 charged in purse-snatching

Kenneth Hart
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — Police on Tuesday arrested a man and a woman in connection with an incident at Walmart where an 8-year-old boy had his mother’s purse snatched out of his hands.

Bryan Coleman, 28, of Catlettsburg, and Brittany Clary, 21, of Ashland, both were charged with first-degree robbery, Ashland Police Department Field Operations Commander Maj. Mark McDowell said.

The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. According to McDowell, a 48-year-old woman was in the process of loading items into her vehicle in the Walmart parking lot and had given her purse to her son to hold while she did so.

Coleman allegedly came running up and grabbed the purse from the youngster, knocking him to the pavement in the process, he said.

The woman “had the presence of mind” to scream and activate her vehicle’s panic alarm, alerting other customers to the situation, McDowell said. One bystander chased the suspect, who dropped the purse as he was fleeing.

Officers canvassed the area around Walmart in search of the suspect and also stopped a vehicle near the store being driven by Clary, who McDowell described as Coleman’s “estranged girlfriend.” Police believe she was acting as the getaway driver and was returning to Walmart to pick up Coleman, he said.

Coleman was arrested about 45 minutes after the incident at Hillcrest Apartments, McDowell said.

The 8-year-old suffered “superficial” injuries in the incident, McDowell said.

Coleman and Clary both were lodged in the Boyd County Detention Center, where they remained on Wednesday.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.