Rocky River Police Nab Alleged Supermarket Purse-Snatchers
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with a series of purse snatchings at several supermarkets.
According to police, surveillance video from inside the Heinen’s on Detroit Road shows Elizabeth Arcuri, 29, grabbing a purse from a customer who walked away from her shopping cart. Arcuri is seen fleeing to the parking lot where her boyfriend, Jeffrey Uhl, 29, was waiting in a getaway car.
“Personal information, makeup, driver’s license, money, checkbook, everything is in there,” said Detective Ken Thompson from the Rocky River Police Department. Thompson said the two have been linked to at least nine similar purse snatchings at Heinen’s, the Rocky River Giant Eagle and the Giant Eagle in Lakewood.
Arcuri and Uhl are accused of taking the purses and using the credit cards to buy and resell gift cards for cash, fueling a nasty habit.
“I interviewed Ms. Arcuri myself,” said Det. Thompson. “She told me that she’s been on a heroin high for the past two weeks and that’s primarily why she’s been doing this–even though she has a long history of doing this.”
Police arrested them last Wednesday when they were spotted in a red Ford Expedition and chased into Cleveland. The SUV crashed into a church and some of the stolen goods were found inside the vehicle. To date, police have only tracked-down a few victims but they’re hoping more will come forward.
“Don’t turn your back to the cart! It’s easy to do, we’ve all done it, turn around real quick – just don’t turn your back to the cart! Because all it takes is one second and it’s gone,” said Det. Thompson.
“I always have my purse on my shoulder,” said Theresa Walker from Fairview Park. Martha Hopkins from Westlake admitted to leaving her pocketbook in her cart, but she’s always watching.
“Usually, it’s in my cart but I have my hand on the handle of the purse.”
According to police, both Arcuri and Uhl have a long criminal history and they were staying at a house in Cleveland where additional stolen items were found. Det. Thompson said there was also a 16-year-old girl in the SUV when it crashed but they’re still investigating her involvement.
If you have any information, call the Rocky River Police Department at (440) 331-1234.