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Bags Are Pulled Into Passing Car : 2 Arrested in 11 Purse Snatchings

January 11, 1986|MARC IGLER | Times Staff Writer

Two men suspected of committing 11 drive-by purse snatchings in the past week at several West San Fernando Valley shopping centers have been arrested after a police stakeout, authorities said Friday.

Los Angeles police arrested Mark Daniel Klein, 20, of Westlake Village late Thursday night after he was seen driving around Topanga Plaza shopping center in a late-model black Pontiac Trans Am without license plates, a car that matched the description given by all the victims, Detective Ed Picor said.

Officers found a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, ammunition for another gun and two ski masks inside the car, Picor said.

Klein is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at West Valley Jail on suspicion of robbery.

After his arrest, Klein led police to a 22-year-old Canoga Park man, who was held on suspicion of grand theft and released on $6,000 bail, Picor said. Police would not identify the man but said he was Klein's accomplice.

Since Jan 4., Picor said, the purses of 11 women have been stolen by a man in a passing car who grabs the bags as the victims walk to their vehicles in shopping center parking lots.

"The car all of a sudden comes up from behind, a hand emerges, the purses are ripped away and the car disappears into the sunset," Picor said.

The robberies have occurred at Topanga Plaza, Fallbrook Square Shopping Center and Northridge Fashion Center. Most of the women each lost about $200 in cash and jewelry in the robberies, although in one purse snatching Monday at Topanga Plaza about $3,200 in cash and valuables was lost, Picor said.

Police have recovered six of the stolen purses, four of which were found dumped in storm drains and two others that were on hillsides above Woodland Hills, Picor said. The purses were traced through credit cards left in them.

The police investigation began Wednesday and involved 18 officers who patrolled the three shopping centers in cars and on store rooftops.

The unidentified suspect and Klein, who was paroled from County Jail last month after a burglary conviction, will be arraigned at Van Nuys Municipal Court on Monday, Picor said.

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