• Police search for purse snatcher in uptown

    By: Sarah Rosario


    CHARLOTTE, NC - Charlotte police need your help finding a person accused of attacking women and stealing their purses Uptown.

    Eyewitness News took a look at the numbers and found there's been a spike in crimes reported Uptown within the last week.

    When we checked police records for this time last year we didn't find any.

    "I hope they get caught so we all feel a little safer down here," said Julie King.

    King said she's been mugged twice overseas but never in Uptown. Even still, she said she uses precaution. She said she tries to walk often with her dogs.

    So far police have arrested one person and are still looking for another.

    Desmond Gayle has been charged with strong-arm robbery in connection with an attack that police said happened outside the Vue apartments.

    According to the police report, Gayle kicked, punched and bit a woman to get her purse.

    Another purse-snatching happened at the intersection of Fifth and Church streets.

    Witnesses said the attacker threw the victim to the ground where she hit her head and screamed. Witnesses said customers across the street at Basil then stepped in to help.

    "They heard her screaming and probably about four or five people went over to help her and the guy fled and a couple of people went after him," said Basil Manager Derrick Dewalt.

    Police say that attack happened around 7:30 p.m.

    Dewalt said it raises concerns for his employees who have to walk after they park for work.

    "We tell people not to leave alone and for the later people, we usually walk them and see them to their car, but you can't take enough safety precautions at night," said Dewalt.

    Officers said these incidents start off  as simple purse-snatchings but when the victim tries to fight back it turns into an assault.

    Police said the women attacked were walking alone.

    Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police.

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