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Police say robber and thief, addicted to crack, targeted 2 Decatur victims

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DECATUR — A 52-year-old Decatur crack cocaine addict who funds his addiction through robbery, theft and aggressive panhandling is now behind bars, according to Decatur police.

Sworn affidavits said the man was caught Saturday after being chased by witnesses following his robbery of an 80-year-old male victim near a bank at 10:05 a.m.

Watch now: Will license plate-reading cameras solve Decatur's crime issues?

The affidavits said the victim had been crossing the parking lot of a bank in the 500 block of East Pershing Road, carrying a bucket filled with $100 in coins. His assailant rushed up and grabbed the bucket out of the man’s hands, causing the man to fall to the ground.

“The fall caused cuts and abrasions to (the victim’s) right arm, hand and face,” said Officer Brian Allison, who signed one of the affidavits.

Allison said witnesses gave chase as the robber fled on foot and kept police apprised of his location. Officers intercepted him and he was taken into custody in the 2700 block of North Water Street.

Allison said both the witnesses and the victim later positively identified the man before he was carted off to the Macon County Jail. And while sitting in his cell later the same day, police said he got a visit from Detective James Weddle who suspected the man was also responsible for a purse-snatch-and-run crime committed against an 83-year-old woman June 17.

This happened as the woman was approaching a business in the 1900 block of East Eldorado Street, a neighborhood Weddle said he knows the man frequents while he “aggressively panhandles for money.”

Weddle said the man fitted the description of a robber who had first approached the woman asking for cash and, after she had refused and walked away, rushed up behind her and grabbed the purse out of her hands. There had been $100 in $20 bills inside the purse.

“During a Mirandized interview (the man) admitted to taking the purse from the elderly woman in hopes to obtain money for crack cocaine,” said Weddle. He said the man has previous convictions for theft, retail theft, and robbery and has now been charged with new preliminary counts of robbery and theft from a person.

A check of Macon County Jail records Monday showed the man remained incarcerated with bail set at $45,000, meaning he must post a bond of $4,500 to be freed. All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney’s office.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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