A 49-year old woman with about a quarter-century of prior criminal behavior turned herself in to the Waterford Police Department Saturday morning. Deborah Simmons will be arraigned on theft-related charges Sunday in the Oakland County Circuit Court.
According to WWJ-950, the woman had been conducting her purse-snatching operation in Pontiac, Auburn Hills and Waterford.
Her M.O. was observing shoppers who carried their purses in their shopping baskets. If the victim walked away from their cart in the course of shopping, Simmons would take control of the cart, eventually taking the purse or stripping it of cash.
Police had received tips from the public concerning the perpetrator’s identity. They had been searching the stores where Simmons had been operating.
One case involves a 90-year-old victim. At a Meijer outlet on Highland Road in Waterford, the victim paused to look over some produce when her cart vanished. Police believe Simmons is the culprit.
Simmons was most recently paroled on April 16, 2013 and is an absconder. Her criminal career dates to 1985 and includes larceny from a building, larceny from a person, several other theft crimes, and assaulting a police officer.