Eight arrested in Anchorage purse snatching

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two adults and six juveniles were arrested Thursday afternoon in a purse snatching that sent a 42-year-old victim to the hospital.

''They said they were out rolling around and they needed gas money, so they decided to rob this lady,'' said Anchorage Police Detective Scott Lofthouse said.

Witnesses reported a man got out of a 1998 Ford Expedition in the parking lot of a Fred Meyer store and assaulted the unidentified victim. The incident was captured on the store's security camera.

''Looking at the video, it looked like a linebacker tackling a running back,'' Lofthouse said. ''It was a full out, smashed-her-to-the-ground type of tackle.''

The victim suffered cuts, bruises and a bump to her head, he said. She was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center.

The suspects drove to Mountain View, followed by a witness. Several officers responded and arrested the eight.

Lofthouse identified Jon Tufue, 21, as the tackler. Tufue has been charged with robbery and theft and is being held at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $12,000 bail. Karen Lauati, 18, faces the same charges and is being held there in lieu of $8,000 bail.

Six juveniles ages 13 to 17 will face robbery and theft charges in juvenile court, Lofthouse said.

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