Rowan man charged in purse-snatching spree

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2012

KANNAPOLIS — A Rowan County man faces multiple charges after police say he went on a purse-snatching spree around Kannapolis on Friday.
Heath Wilson Rice, 34, of Western Acres Road near Enochville, is charged with two counts of common law robbery, two counts of attempted common law robbery, four counts of assault on a female and one count of damage to property.
According to a Kannapolis Police report, officers responded around 7:15 p.m. Friday to the Food Lion parking lot at Oak Avenue Mall, near the N.C. Research Campus, where Marilyn McKinley told them a man had grabbed her purse and fled in a burgundy Dodge Caravan.
The man had caused minor injuries to her arm when he snatched the purse from it, the woman said.
As officers searched the area, police got a call about an attempted purse snatching at the Afton Ridge shopping center several miles away in southern Kannapolis. Jo Redmond told officers she was walking back to her car from a Dollar Tree there when a man approached and grabbed her purse. Redmond struggled with the man and was pushed to the ground but held on to her purse.
The man left in a burgundy van. He didn’t go far though, police say, stealing another purse in the parking lot of a Starbucks Coffee in the same shopping center.
Robert Daniels told police he was sitting in his car at Starbucks when he saw a man walk past and accost Daniels’ daughter, Cami Sides, as she was walking toward the car. Daniels ran to help his daughter, as did his wife Tonya Daniels. The man grabbed Tonya Daniels’ purse, causing her to fall to the ground, police said.
The man then drove away in a van. Several witnesses called 911 and gave a description of the vehicle and tag number. Shortly afterward, officers stopped the van on Mooresville Road. They found evidence inside the van and took its driver, Rice, into custody, police said.
Rice remained in the Cabarrus County jail Monday under $250,000 bond.