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North Olmsted police arrest serial purse snatcher hours after releasing him for previous purse theft

Posted at 11:22 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 11:22:20-04

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — A serial purse snatcher was arrested and charged on Thursday after attempting to steal a purse from an employee of Olive Tree Middle East Food and Meat in North Olmsted.

On March 26 around 4:29 p.m., North Olmsted police were called to the 27000 block of Brookpark Road after receiving a call that several employees of the store were detaining a man they caught stealing an employee’s purse from inside the store.

Once on scene, officers immediately recognized the man as Michael Shoemaker, 27, who had been arrested earlier that same day in North Olmsted for stealing a purse from a Giant Eagle, police said.

Due to restrictions in place for COVID-19, Shoemaker wasn’t transported to jail. Instead, the officer transported him to a local homeless shelter to seek help after learning he had been kicked out of his home, according to police.

Shoemaker told officers he had taken a bus back into North Olmsted, where he then went to Olive Tree Middle East Food and Meat. Employees at the store told police that Shoemaker asked to use the restroom and then said he had lost his debit card and asked for help finding it. While the employees were looking for the debit card, Shoemaker took a purse that was hanging on a shelf and tried to hide it under his shirt, police said.

The Olive Tree Middle East Food and Meat employees noticed the purse and detained him in the store until police arrived.

Officers arrested Shoemaker at the store and this time transported him to the North Olmsted Police Department jail.

Shoemaker is the suspect in a string of at least six other purse snatchings in North Olmsted, including one at a Walmart on March 25. In that incident, Shoemaker used his foot to steal the purse off a woman’s motorized scooter as she was shopping, police said.

Shoemaker was charged with burglary and transported to the county jail on Friday, according to police.