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Police In Westchester Break Out New Toy To Track Prada Purse Snatcher

Esurance Senior SIU Major Case Investigator Michael Sepanara (left) Esurance SIU Investigator John Ferris (right.) Accepting the vehicle donation for the Scarsdale Police Department is Officer Michael Coyne (center). Photo Credit: Scarsdale Police Department
Fairview Road in Scarsdale. Photo Credit: Google Maps
The Scarsdale Police Department. Photo Credit: File

The Scarsdale Police Department put a new toy to good use as they busted out its newest undercover car to track down a man who allegedly stole a Prada purse and other items from a parked car.

Around Christmas last year, the Scarsdale Police Department received a special donation from Esurance - a vehicle intended for undercover police operations.

Officers from the Scarsdale Police Department were dispatched to a Fairview Road home at approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, where there was a report of a suspicious man smoking a cigarette in a local homeowner’s driveway.

Police said that the woman stated that an African American man wearing a gray hoodie and gray sweatpants was standing in her driveway and smoking. While she was inside her home, the resident saw him move further down the driveway toward the front of the passenger side of the vehicle. At that point, police said that the woman armed her home’s alarm and activated the car alarm, at which point the man ran away down Fairview Road.

When checking her vehicle, the Scarsdale homeowner discovered that her Prada purse had been stolen, and her glove box had been ransacked. The purse contained an orange Prada wallet, her license, credit cards, $100, a glasses case, phone charger and other paperwork.

While investigating the scene, investigators noted that they found a burning Newport cigarette in the driveway. A White Plains police canine was also called to the scene to assist investigators.

Scarsdale Police Capt. Thomas Altizio said that several marked units were sent to canvas the area in an attempt to locate the suspect, who was later identified as White Plains resident Jonathan Martin. Following an unsuccessful canvas, the Patrol Supervisor directed all marked units to leave the immediate area, leaving just the undercover officer in the car that had been donated by Esurance .

Altizio said once the marked police units left the immediate area, the suspect in the theft from the vehicle came out of hiding and was observed by the undercover officer. The officer immediately detained the suspect, while the nearby patrol cars quickly returned to the scene. The suspect was then positively identified by the victim as the person who had stolen a purse out of the vehicle in her Fairview Road driveway.

Martin was arrested and the police canine tracked the stolen items to a nearby backyard on Fairview Road. Police said the contents of the purse were scattered on the ground in several different locations. Investigators noted that at the time of his arrest, Martin was smoking a Newport cigarette and had a pack on him.

Following his apprehension, Martin was arrested and charged with two counts each of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies. He was also cited for trespassing. Following his arraignment, Martin was remanded to the Westchester County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail and a Temporary Order of Protection was issued on behalf of his victim.

“The police department has used undercover vehicles in the past and is aware of the benefits of their use, but we are very pleased that the use of this vehicle resulted in an arrest so quickly,” Altizio wrote in an email. “We are grateful to Esurance for the vehicle donation, and to the Fairview Road resident for notifying us immediately of the suspicious activity and providing us with detailed information that lead to a quick arrest.”

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