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Detective spots alleged robber

July 20, 2005

A Hagerstown Police detective who saw a man walking on North Potomac Street on Tuesday with a ladies' purse - and a woman following him, crying and pointing - stopped and arrested the man, police said.

Detective Shawn Schultz was driving an unmarked police car south in the 400 block of North Potomac Street at about 10 a.m.

Police said he saw David Charles Thomas Jr., 66, carrying a black purse. As he looked through the purse, Thomas took out a blue change wallet and put into his pants pocket, police said in a news release.

Schultz also saw Vicki Lee Nemcek, 54, of West Baltimore Street, Hagerstown, walking about a half-block behind Thomas, crying and pointing at him, police said.

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Schultz stopped his police car and asked Thomas whose pocketbook he had. Schultz, who was in plain clothes, identified himself as a police officer, the news release says.

Nemcek then caught up to Thomas and reportedly told Schultz that Thomas knocked her to the ground, broke her purse strap and stole her purse.

Thomas, who has no fixed address, was charged with one count of robbery, one count of second-degree assault and one count of theft under $500.

Thomas was being held in the Washington County Detention Center Tuesday night. His bail was set at $10,000.

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