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January 31, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A purse picker may have sounded a muted call for help by virtually returning to the scene of the crime and trying it again.

“People often keep doing it until they get caught,” said Detective Lt. Richard Rosati. “They almost cherish getting caught.”

The unknown male suspect is accused of rifling a woman’s purse at about 9:15 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 24, in a business on the Hill in downtown Grosse Pointe Farms.

Numerous media outlets ran a security video photograph of the suspect.

He matches the description of a man who did the same in the district Saturday, Dec. 22.

“We have video of him and it looks like the same guy,” said Detective John Walko.

The suspect is white, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-9 and weighs about 170 pounds. He wore a short mustache with no other facial hair during both occasions, according to video evidence.

The 51-year-old female victim in this month’s incident told police she came upon the man in a second-floor storage room at 119 Kercheval.

“He was going through her purse,” said Lt. Andrew Rogers.

The woman asked the man what he took.

“He said, ‘I took nothing,’ and said he was just looking for something,” Rogers said the woman reported. “He pushed her to get by and ran down the front stairs eastbound Kercheval through the bank drive to Muir.”

Officers searched the area but didn’t find him.

They notified nearby agencies and, a short time later, posted an alert on nixle.com with photo attached.

At about 3 p.m., multiple officers from the Farms and City of Grosse Pointe responded to a report of the suspect at a business on the Detroit side of Mack in the area of Neff.

“A guy thought it was him, but it wasn’t,” Rosati said.

Another tip came minutes later.

“He was seen in the Village,” Rosati said. “He went into a car registered to someone in Grosse Pointe Woods.”

It wasn’t him.

Farms police might enlist the aid of Crimestoppers, Walko said.

Crimestoppers issues cash rewards to anonymous tipsters.

People who doubt criminals risk arrest by returning for seconds, thirds and fourths are giving them too much credit, especially if they’re stealing to buy drugs, Walko said.

“They’re desperate for drugs,” he said. “They figure if it worked once, it will work again.”

“Several told me they were glad to get caught because their existence was terrible,” Rosati said. “They live day-to-day wondering how they’ll get money for their next hit. With arrest, they’ll get off it.

“I think the need for drugs is the biggest source of crime,” Walko said.

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