Teen charged as adult in purse-snatchings

June 09, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A Falling Waters, W.Va., teenager has been charged as an adult in three violent purse-snatchings in Hagerstown that occurred May 12.

Matthew Justin Luipersbeck, 16, was facing numerous counts of robbery, second-degree assault and theft. When Hagerstown City Police added a count of armed robbery last week, the case automatically was sent to adult court.

Luipersbeck appeared before Washington County District Judge Noel Spence on Monday and was ordered held on $50,000 bond.

Co-defendant Sterling Olin White Jr., 25, of 1062 Wayne Ave., was charged with armed robbery, numerous counts of robbery, theft and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault.

The first incident occurred May 12 at 2:45 a.m. on Haven Road when a man was hit in the head with a 2-inch dowel and robbed, according to Detective Carroll Braun.


In the second case, an employee of Washington County Hospital was walking toward her office in the 200 block of East Antietam Street at 6:47 a.m. when a man hit her in the head, police said.

The woman was not seriously hurt, police said.

At 8:05 a.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Wesel Boulevard, a man ran up behind an employee as she approached the store, pushed her down and took her purse.

The woman got the tag number of the car in which her assailant rode away, and a witness tailed the car to the West Virginia border, police said.

The car was found in Martinsburg, W.Va. Police there said a credit card belonging to one of the robbery victims had been used.

A few days later, Hagerstown Police Officer Joseph Stauffer saw a vehicle in Hagerstown's West End being driven by White, whose license was known to be revoked, police said.

The vehicle attempted to turn north onto High Street but struck a concrete wall at Washington and High streets, police said.

White and his passenger, Luipersbeck, jumped from the vehicle and ran in opposite directions, police said.

White tried to jump over a police cruiser but was stopped after hitting the windshield, police said.

Luipersbeck was apprehended about four blocks away, police said. Charged with the purse snatchings, Luipersbeck was held in juvenile detention until the adult charge was lodged.

White was charged with driving on revoked privilege, eluding police, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, driving an uninsured motor vehicle, reckless driving, failure to stop and yield, speed greater than reasonable, failure to control speed to avoid a collision, and one count each of felony theft of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor theft, police said.

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