The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Friday, May 3, 2002


Purse snatching case set for court hearing

A New Castle woman who snatched a shopper's purse outside a Hermitage department store on April 24 has her preliminary hearing set for Wednesday before District Justice Henry J. Russo, and faces similar charges in Lawrence County.

Erika Rossi, 19, of Cedar Street in New Castle, was charged April 29 with robbery, conspiracy to rob, theft and receiving stolen property, Hermitage police said.

According to witnesses, Ms. Rossi snatched a purse from a 63-year-old woman in the parking lot near the store's lawn and garden area at 7:25 p.m., then got into a white car, which sped away. The purse contained about $200 and personal items, police said.

Hermitage police said they found Ms. Rossi through state police in New Castle, who picked her up for a similar incident on April 24 in a store parking lot in Union Township, Lawrence County.

There, Ms. Rossi had knocked on the window of a car and asked directions of a 70-year-old woman in the car, state police said.

Ms. Rossi then grabbed her purse and got into her own car. The woman stood in front of Ms. Rossi's car, and Ms. Rossi's car ran into her, injuring her knee, police said.

Police charged Ms. Rossi with aggravated assault and robbery. She was being held in Lawrence County Jail after failing to pay $100,000 bond.

Michael Platt, 20, New Castle, the driver of the car in the Hermitage incident, was charged with robbery and conspiracy, police said.

Platt's preliminary hearing is also Wednesday.

Ms. Rossi's bond on the local charges was set at $25,000 by District Justice Henry J. Russo on April 29, and she was returned to Lawrence County Jail.

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