Robbery foiled thanks to witnesses

Mug shot of Marshall D. Smith courtesy the Allen County Sheriff's Department.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man who tried to steal a purse from a woman as she loaded groceries into her car was positively identified by his intended victim and three others who saw the attempt happen, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Court documents indicate that 20-year-old Marshall Smith tried to steal a purse from the seat of a woman’s car as she was putting away groceries on May 15 just after 10 p.m. in a Walmart parking lot.

A witness apparently saw Smith ducked down by her car just before she heard someone else yelling that her purse had been stolen. Three people on the scene all helped the victim and tried to keep the suspect on the scene until police arrived. One person even tried backing a vehicle into the suspect, pushing him backwards, to prevent him from leaving.

The suspect did manage to get away and when a witness moved a car to follow him, the purse was spotted in a parking spot.

The affidavit of probable cause does not indicate exactly when and how Smith was caught after fleeing the scene, but does state that the intended victim and the three witnesses positively identified him to police.

Smith apparently asked police “Is this about the purse at Walmart? I gave that back,” and “Am I going to jail now?”

The would-be victim told police she had seen Smith following her around Walmart before the attempted robbery in the parking lot. The Walmart’s location was redacted from the court documents NewsChannel 15 received.

Smith faces a charge of attempted theft.

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