MPD: Panhandler dumps woman’s purse near downtown bike rack

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)--- Police are searching for an aggressive panhandler who followed a Madison woman on Sunday evening as she walked downtown.

Joel Despain, a spokesperson with the Madison Police Department, said it happened around 6 p.m. in the 300 block of W. Dayton Street. The 58-year-old Madison woman pulled out her cellphone and told the man she was going to call 911. He responded by grabbing her purse and taking off.

Despain said officers were able to find the crime on video. They could see the strong-armed robber dumping the purse near a bike rack on State Street. Officers found the woman’s purse as well as some of the her property.

The suspect is described as a black man in his 40’s. He is 5’7” tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black winter jacket, dark pants and a dark stocking cap.

Anyone with information is being asked to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014.