Three locals capture snatcher

Published 9:16 am Monday, May 23, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
A purse snatcher learned quickly that crime doesn't pay as his getaway was short lived Tuesday evening.
The fleet-footed robber was captured by three Good Samaritans after snatching 68-year-old Atmore resident Hazel B. McCullough's purse in front of Food Fair at around 7:16 p.m. He was stopped dead in his tracks after James Crooke, Wilfred Findley and Stanley Singleton apprehended him until Atmore Police Department officers arrived on the scene.
"We're grateful to all three of them guys for helping detain this guy," Atmore Police Chief Jason Dean said. "With that being said, we don't really encourage it, he could have had access to a gun, a knife or something like that. The person (Singleton) could have struck harder and more seriously injured. Don't get me wrong, we're grateful. I'm sure the victim is thankful. I glad no one got hurt any more than they did. It turned out pretty good and I'm glad to say that."
The trio witnessed Michael Rayburn Moss, 30, of Century, Fla. rob McCullough while she was shopping and quickly pursued him. Singleton was injured during the chase after Moss hit him with his car, but Crooke and Findley were able to capture Moss. Singleton was treated for his injuries at the scene by Atmore Ambulance paramedics and later released.
Dean said Moss wasn't armed and there were no weapons in his vehicle.
Although purse snatchings haven't been a problem in Atmore, Dean said there have been other incidents in the past.
"We have had incidents in the past where this has happened," Dean explained. "Usually it happens more frequently around the holidays, around Christmas, when people usually have more money and more shopping is going on. We have had a problem with it before, there's not a rash of it or anything like that."
Even though purse snatchings are far and few between, Dean has beefed up the patrol in shopping center parking lots.
"We make regular patrols through the parking lots of all of our shopping centers, but after this happened, we will increase our patrols," Dean said. "I think this guy here for whatever reason, I don't know if he was dependent on something or if he was just hard up for money, he found an opportunity to take advantage of an elderly person in a store and he got caught."
Moss was charged with third-degree robbery, which is a Class C felony, and first-degree assault, which is a Class B. He is currently being held in the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton.
Dean said there could be more charges to follow.
"As of yesterday he was in the detention center," Dean said. "He went up for a bond hearing, I believe he was on the docket for late yesterday evening, to go before Judge Jordan. I don't know the outcome of that. As of yesterday, he was still incarcerated."
Dean said he didn't know how the outcome of Moss's bond hearing went or if a bail was set. Escambia County District Judge David Jordan was unavailable for comment.

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