New Castle News

August 9, 2013

Edinburg man facing arrest in purse thefts

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — An Edinburg man is facing charges after allegedly snatching two purses.

Edward Mark Palmer, 49, of 126 Twilight Mobile Home Park, is accused of stealing purses from two women — one at Call’s Plaza in Neshannock Township and one at Westgate Plaza shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Neshannock Township police have charged Palmer with robbery and other related offenses, and charges are pending in Union Township.

He has been hospitalized with an illness and will be arrested and arraigned upon his discharge, according to authorities.

Neshannock police reported a woman was getting into her car at Call’s Plaza when a man, later identified as Palmer, approached her and asked her if she knew the business hours at the Social Security office. She told police he then grabbed her purse from her arm and drove away in a maroon car.

Police put out a bulletin to other departments and Shenango Township police reported spotting the car on Route 422, heading toward the city.

A Shenango officer told Neshannock police he had stopped a car on Route 422 that had a gold purse on the front seat that belonged to the woman at Westgate. Palmer didn’t comply with the Shenango officer’s orders after he had confiscated the purse and left the scene after the officer hit him with a Taser.

New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem said the city’s street crimes unit spotted the vehicle in the parking lot of a bar on the city’s South Side.

Officers entered the back door and Palmer tried to leave through the front door, but they caught him, arrested him and turned him over to the Union Township police.

He was taken to the Union Township station, where he told police he had been smoking crack cocaine for two days and needed money. He told them he had dumped out the victim’s purse and its contents along the side of a road leading to El Rio Beach.

Officers found the purse and its contents there.

Palmer told police that after he had gone to El Rio Beach, he went to Westgate Plaza and stole another purse.

That woman said she had been in her car, trying to get her keys out, when a man approached and grabbed her purse.

The woman whose purse had been stolen at Call’s Plaza called police shortly before 9 p.m. and said Palmer had hurt her left arm when he pulled her purse from her, it was swelling around the elbow and she was seeking medical treatment.

Neshannock police charged Palmer in the court of District Judge Scott McGrath with one count each of robbery, receiving stolen property, simple assault and driving while his license is suspended.