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Mom Victim, Witnesses Catch Smash-And-Grab Purse Thief

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Robert SimmonsRobert Simmons, 50, of Chicago was charged with felony vehicular invasion. (Chicago Police Department)

Robert SimmonsRobert Simmons, 50, of Chicago was charged with felony vehicular invasion. (Chicago Police Department)

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CHICAGO (STMW) — Witnesses in the West Town neighborhood helped detain a parolee who smashed the window of a parked car to steal a woman’s purse Thursday afternoon, while she and her young daughter sat in the vehicle.

Robert Simmons, 50, of the 5200 block of West Quincy Street was charged with felony vehicular invasion in connection with the noon incident in the 800 block of West Hubbard Street, according to police News Affairs.

The woman, 36, told police she was sitting in her parked black Volvo with her 2-year-old daughter in a rear seat when she heard a loud sound of shattering glass from the front passenger window, police said.

She saw a man grab her purse off the seat, run into a waiting vehicle and drive off, police said.

But the woman followed and witnesses helped detain Simmons after his vehicle crashed in the 1500 block of West Hubbard Street, police said.

Neither the woman nor her child was hurt from the shattered glass, and the purse was later recovered, police said. Details on how Simmons crashed were not known, but no one was hurt.

In court on Friday, Judge Donald Panaree Jr. ordered Simmons held on a $400,000 bond and set a preliminary hearing for April 5 in Branch 44 at 3150 W. Fluornoy, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Simmons was also cited for driving on a suspended license, failing to reduce speed and disregarding a stop sign, according to police.

He is currently on parole from a 6-year sentence prison sentence for vehicle theft, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections website, which said he was convicted in 2007.

Before that, he served a 10-year-sentence, also for possessing a stolen vehicle; and a 3-year sentence for a firearms violation, records show.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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