69-Year-Old Woman Robbed in Kmart Parking Lot

Elderly woman involved in strong-armed robbery.


An elderly woman was robbed recently while in the Kmart parking lot, according to police. 

The 69-year-old woman was going through the trunk of her car parked at Kmart, 295 Prospect Ave., at around 3 p.m. on Monday when a man approached her from behind and grabbed her purse.

The woman struggled with the man until the purse straps broke, causing her to fall to the ground. She injured her wrist in the fall. 

The woman was robbed of $60 in cash, a cell phone, and various documents, according to police. 

The man took the purse and ran to a waiting car, described as silver with four doors. He sped away on Prospect Avenue toward the entrance of I-280.  

The woman refused medical attention. 

The incident is still under investigation, and police do not have any suspects. 



Local Mom September 05, 2012 at 01:21 PM
This is unbelievable! 3 pm in the afternoon - broad daylight! What is going on lately? How can West Orange attract and keep businesses like Whole Foods which bring in tax dollars when the crime appears to be running rampant over the last few weeks/month.
Status Quo September 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Crime is down 12% in 2012. It only *seems* as if there's a lot of crime because the Patch keeps reporting it and we keep reading it. Either that's the truth or we're falling victim to die große Lüge. Somebody will show up soon and reassure us. Don't worry.
David Steinowitz September 05, 2012 at 01:44 PM
i think this is a major problem....i actually have a hard time understanding how whole foods can succeed in that location unless there is continuous police presence...Even at that the location of that whole foods is not understandable to me...K-Mart wouldn't seem to be able to bring in customers to the whole foods with the disparity between the two stores...K Mart is inexpensive and tends to get lower income clientele versus Whole foods which is expensive and would not seem to attract the K Mart shoppers...
Lori September 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM
@David, I've always thought since moving to west orange in 2007 that it seemed more appropriate that Shoprite and Whole Foods switched locations with one another!! Besides that thought, this is sad for something like this to take place in mid afternoon. Not sure how long this woman was 'going through her trunk', however we must all be aware of our surroundings at all times (day or night). I always keep my doors locked and never stay outside of my car or a business location any longer than necessary (especially if I see only a few other people out in the parking lot). It's always safer when there are plenty of witnesses! Hopefully the camera's have caught both the license plate of the getaway car as well as the guy who grabbed her purse and the driver of the vehicle!! Once people realize it's too hard to get away with this stuff, the crime rate will go down. It's also important for the community to come together on this and help support one another.
Gary Englert September 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM
During 2011, West Orange reported an average of 1.67 violent crimes per week and a strong arm robbery (which is what occurred here) would classify as one. While any and all crime is unacceptable...and quite personal if one happens to be the victim...there is no empirical evidence to suggest the overall crime rate (which has been in decline for more than a dozen years) is on the rise. What we have, purely and simply, is the far more immediate and widespread reproting of the crimes that do occur, due to the proliferation of on-line news outlets like The Patch and The Alternative Press. Fifteen years ago (when the crime rate WAS substantially higher) the only way people heard about any of it was in the 'Police Blotter' of "The West Orange Chronicle" (then as now), a weekly. It is no more complicated than that and, yes, people should be aware of their surroundings (and exercise common sense to insure their own security and safety) as the police can't be everywhere.
Lisa September 05, 2012 at 03:19 PM
You are correct. The "new" Patch seems obesessed with reporting crime. What happened to all of the wonderful stories about goings on in the town. Wow, I miss Karen!
West Oranger September 05, 2012 at 03:27 PM
The crime rate is lower, but violent crime (and I'm calling pushing down an older woman in the middle of the day a violent crime) in a very public place is extremely jarring. That parking lot would benefit from more police presence because of its layout and proximity to the 280. Kmart is extremely convenient, but poorly managed, as is that building. But having low-cost shopping isn't a crime and doesn't attract crime in itself. Regardless of the disparity between Whole Foods and Kmart, things would be better if all of the retail spaces at that location were filled and they had better on-site security. It bothers me that when people in West Orange talk about crime or poverty or school rankings, they are really talking about race. This is a fantastically diverse and integrated town, both racially and economically. This is a benefit for our children, who will grow up in a much more integrated world, and posters shouldn't be so quick to blame "them" every time something goes wrong. There is no them. There is only us.
Lori September 05, 2012 at 03:29 PM
@Steve Do they still have 'paper' food stamps?? I thought everything was electronic now and people on assistance had a debit-type card that their benefit allowance was kept on?? I know though, that where there's a will theres a way, but it seems a lot harder for people to sell their food stamps if it's on a card. It also goes to show that not everyone actually 'needs' the entire allowance benefited to them. (I know some would rather have cash than keep their cupboards well stocked as needed)
Lisa O'Donnell Fahoury September 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I'm just wondering when the heck did 69 become "elderly" LOL
Tom G. September 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I see patrol cars in the KMart parking lot on a regular basis, but obviously the cops can't just sit there all day, so this was simply a crime of opportunity. I know there is a full time security guard inside the front lobby of Kmart, so perhaps they need to extend that security outside as well.
Local Mom September 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM
That 12 % statistic was for the first 6 months of the year thru June - what about the summer months - every day there is another incident with a gun - this is crazy!
Local Mom September 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Not sure private security would help - I worked at 80 Main Street for many years - they had private security and police there all the time - cars were stolen right in broad day out of the parking lot - mine was taken and destroyed twice - I got the feeling the thieves found it amusing to steal right under their noses
Marilyn Stone September 05, 2012 at 06:00 PM
@ Gary: There is no denying that social media has taken over the information highway and is a driving force for disseminating information. However, the perception is that violent crime is up and the administration needs to wake up and realize that WO is no longer the town that many of us grew up in. We have borders that are bringing in a bad element and we are scared. We don't need you telling us that crime is on a downward trend, perception is that it's up and it's getting more violent.
Tom September 06, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Outrageous!! What is the description of the assailant?
Tom G. September 06, 2012 at 12:30 PM
@Marilyn - I think you are pretty much proving Gary's point. The reason "perception is up" is because of the quick reporting of these crimes. The "town you grew up in" likely had much more crime going on than we have today, you just weren't as aware of it at that time. I can only imagine what these Patch comments would have looked like 10-20 years ago when the crime rate in town was 2-3 times higher than it is today. Let's also keep in mind that our town has the disadvantage of being located in close proximity to other cities that have among the highest crime rates in the state (Newark, Orange, East Orange, Irvington) - it's people from these locations that are committing the majority of crimes in our town. The fact that our crime rate is as low as it is, is quite remarkable.
Gary Englert September 06, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Marilyn Stone: I grew up in West Orange too (and was living here before Route 280 cut the Township in half) and crime has declined in the last dozen years. This followed a couple of decades of increases (primarily burglaries and auto thefts) that were undoubtedly a result of the easy entrance and exit that the highway provides. Point in fact: In 1995, there were 364 motor vehicle thefts in West Orange; in 2010, there were 48...and that is just one example of how much crime has decreased. The administration isn't asleep and does understand the perception that crime is on the rise that is being nurtured by on-line media but, the simple fact remains that this perception is not reality. We all need to deal with the problems that actually exist and neither embellish nor minimize them, as that serves no useful purpose. There ISN'T more crime; we're just hearing about the crime that does happen more quickly (and the news is disseminated far more broadly) because of the Internet. If you'd like reassurance that what I'm telling you is true, the Townhip's crime data from 1995-2010 is available for viewing in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports on this website: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr The complete reports for 2011 are not yet available but, that data was released by the Mayor and WOPD a few weeks ago (as well as a comparison with 2012, year to date) and confirmed a continual over all decline.
Gary Englert September 07, 2012 at 11:09 PM
An arrest has already been made: http://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/articles/west-orange-police-detectives-identify-suspect-in
Lori September 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
@Gary Thanks for sharing!! That guy needs to stay in jail. His record and actions leave one to think that he will never change!
Tom September 08, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I am glad. Does anyone know if he acted alone?
Rayna Gillman September 20, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Uh - excuse me -- but a 69 year old is NOT elderly! Geesh!


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