3 women thwart purse snatching

Published: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 1:36 a.m.
Three women chased a 6-foot-5-inch purse snatcher until he dropped the purse he had just taken - and then one of the women kept chasing the man until the police showed up.
It was apparently the second purse snatching by the man Tuesday evening. A couple hours earlier, in the 200 block of SE 1st Street at about 10 p.m., a man grabbed the purse of a 20-year-old woman, a University of Florida student, Gainesville Police Sgt. Keith Kameg said.
She resisted, but he yanked her to the ground and ran off with her purse.
Witnesses told police the man jumped into a green car. They gave police such a good description of the man that Officer Brad Litchfield recognized him as someone he had talked to while on patrol the night before, Kameg said.
The victim picked Michael Anthony Pagliarella, 23, out of a photo lineup and police began looking for him.
Meanwhile, just before midnight, three 22-year-old women, all UF students, were walking in the 1500 block of W. University Avenue when a man grabbed a purse from one of them. The student fought back, but the robber ran off with the purse, Kameg said.
But it didn't end there.
The three women chased the man, who was 6-foot-5-inches tall, until he dropped the purse. And after that, one of the women kept chasing him a few more blocks, Keith said.
The woman followed the suspect until she saw him get into a green Oldsmobile Achieva.
Someone had called police by this time, and police also saw the man get into the green car, Kameg said. Police followed the car and stopped it in the 2300 block of Archer Road.
Pagliarella was in the car, along with Miltiadis Eleftherakos, 30, of Melrose, Kameg said. Detective Robert Hoehn interviewed both men. They admitted planning and committing the robberies, Kameg said. They reportedly told police they wanted the money to buy drugs.
Both men were charged with two counts of strong-armed robbery, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Kameg said this was a great case on many different levels.
An addition to good police work, the victims and witnesses gave great descriptions, he said.
"What we had here were people who really wanted to help," Kameg said.
And while police don't recommend always fighting back, the three women in the second robbery decided they didn't want to be victims.
"They took aggressive steps to not be a victim," Kameg said.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or ciotolk@gvillesun.com.

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