Man chased, caught after allegedy grabbing purse
A Rochester man made his first court appearance Tuesday, two days after his alleged victim's brother chased him down to retrieve a snatched purse.
Murry Bonzellen Walker, 33, has been charged in Olmsted County District Court with two counts of felony theft and one count of felony identity theft. He remains in custody in lieu of $10,000 conditional bail, and is due back in court April 13.
The case began Sunday, when officers responded to the Kahler Grand Hotel, 20 Second Ave. SW, for a report of a robbery. A woman told police she'd been sitting in a chair in the lobby with her pocketbook right beside her.
A man — later identified as Walker — approached her, hovered over her, then grabbed the purse, the complaint says. He ran north through the hotel mezzanine as the woman yelled that someone had stolen her purse.
Her brother, who was sitting nearby, chased Walker down the stairs and across Center Street, the report says, as hotel staff called 911.
The woman's brother continued to chase Walker, yelling for him to stop. Walker fell a couple of times during the pursuit, the complaint says, before the man caught up to him near Methodist Hospital. The brother told Walker to drop the pocketbook; Walker complied, then got up and ran away.
Mayo security told police the man had been seen on their surveillance video going into the main entrance of the Charter House; staff there said a man matching his description had gone into a bathroom.
Officers found Walker in a stall. A subsequent search turned up five Social Security cards in his pockets, the complaint says, only one of which was in Walker's name.
The brother of the victim later positively identified Walker as the man he'd chased and recovered the pocketbook from.
As an officer prepared to interview Walker at the Adult Detention Center, he allegedly said, "I gave all the property back to the guy that was chasing me."
The Social Security cards were returned; a woman said they'd been stolen from her car.
The purse and its contents were reportedly valued at more than $1,000.
The most serious charge, identity theft, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both. The theft charges are punishable by up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.