Bystanders catch purse-snatcher

Employees of Norwalk businesses come to aid of 63-year-old victim.
Cary Ashby
Jan 19, 2013


A homeless purse-snatching suspect was arrested Thursday shortly after employees who work near the crime scene chased down the man and recovered the victim's belongings.

Glenn C. Pratt, 31, must post a $75,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail. He is charged with robbery, a second-degree felony punishable by two to eight years in prison.

Dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call at 11:38 a.m. A Schild's IGA customer reported seeing the incident involving a 63-year-old woman.

Norwalk Police Capt. Mike Conney said the caller was taking his groceries to his car when he noticed Pratt was acting suspiciously.

"It was just his body language made it appear he was stalking (someone)," Conney said.

The 9-1-1 caller reported he was taking his shopping car back to the cart corral when "he saw the guy running away from her (the victim) onto Milan Avenue," he said. Conney said the man stayed in the area and later provided police with "a good description of the guy."

The robbery remains under investigation.

"We're still working on it. We're still gathering statements from witnesses," Conney said.


Seeing suspicious activity

Another person who saw Pratt reportedly acting suspiciously was Crystal Jackson, a stylist with Tammy's Salon of Style, which is across the street from Schild's. Jackson was standing inside the salon near the front desk when she saw the suspect.

"I just sat and watched him a few minutes because he looked like he was really nervous about something," Jackson said.

Jackson said she noticed the victim first because she's "a little old lady" who appeared to be frail. Jackson mentioned to salon owner Tammy Cerilli she suspected Pratt was up to no good.

"I hope he's not going to do what I think he's going to do," Jackson recalled saying. "As soon as I said that, he was running towards her (the victim) and I was running toward the front door. ... The guy moved straight toward her and took her purse."

Jackson said she saw Pratt run between the salon and Pizza Brothers and then saw him stop near the building that houses Advanced Computer Connections (aka ACC Norwalk) and Columbia Gas.

"He was trying to dump the purse at the time," Jackson said.

"I don't think he expected to see me to show up again. ... At that point it was foot race," she said.


The 'foot race'

As Jackson started chasing the suspect, she yelled at several Columbia gas employees who were standing nearby that the man had the victim's purse.

"There was no way I was going to catch him," she said. "They had no idea what was going on."

Sean Steffanni, of ACC Norwalk, was in his office when he heard Jackson yelling. The back door of Tammy's Salon is visible through his window.

Steffanni said he saw Pratt run to the back of the ACC building and three men chasing the suspect.

"Then I saw him run from behind one of the Dumpsters behind ACC," Steffanni said.

"I saw him and took off," said Steffanni, who saw the fleeing suspect reach in the purse for the wallet and then ditch the purse. "I was the one who caught up with him."

Steffanni said he managed to get in front of Pratt and cut him off at the Norwalk VFW parking lot.

"I think he was extremely tired and exhausted. He did not look healthy," Steffanni said. "There was absolutely no contact (with him).

"I asked him for the wallet. I told him he needed to give it to me. He hesitated, but then he did (give it to me)," he said.

Steffanni then retrieved the purse, which was about 20 yards away, and gave it and the wallet to Jackson.

"By the time I got back, everyone was gone," Steffanni said.

Jackson, who saw the suspect acting suspiciously, said Pratt apologized to her as he caught his breath at the VFW.

"That was when he was begging to let him go," she said about the Columbia Gas employees who stood around the suspect.

Pratt fled from the employees after he caught his breath.

Conney was the first officer on the scene. He directed Officer Kevin Schaffer to drive to Cline Street since witnesses reported the suspect was running that direction.

As Conney arrived at the VFW, he said the employees, who again were chasing Pratt, directed him toward the culprit.

"They were still hot on his trail. I could see him at the same time they were seeing him run through this yard," Conney said.

"He tried to hide behind this fence in some undergrowth of brush," said Conney, who chased Pratt on foot for about 15 minutes.

The suspect then told Conney, "I give up."


'I crapped my pants'

"He was all sweaty and couldn't breathe," said Conney, so the suspect wasn't able to provide his name initially.

As Conney and Schaffer discussed what to do next, Conney said Pratt interjected: "I ditched the purse."

"Absolutely everything was recovered -- all of it," Conney added.

The officers had Pratt get on the ground and placed him in handcuffs. That was about the time Conney noticed a terrible smell.

"I crapped my pants," Conney said, quoting Pratt. "He defecated on himself during the chase."

Police brought the suspect to the station. Conney said Pratt declined to fully complete a statement and didn't say why he was in Norwalk.

"He said he (was) homeless. I don't doubt it. His last address was in Vermilion," Conney said.

Officers cleared the scene 31 minutes after the 9-1-1 call.


Giving credit

The victim, who stayed with Cerilli at the salon during the foot pursuit, sent Jackson and Cerilli flowers.

"That was a wonderful gesture," Jackson said.

Conney gave credit to the 9-1-1 caller and Jackson for noticing Pratt.

"That's two people who could see he was not acting normally," said Conney, whose report describes Pratt's behavior as "predatory (in) nature."

"It's good to have people like that taking an active role in protecting their fellow citizens," the police captain said.

Steffanni, who caught up with Pratt and demanded the wallet from him, was humble about what he did.

"I did what everybody else was doing; I just ran faster," Steffanni said.


Brock Lee

first you say it then you do it


@ Lori7777.... One sec I will get back to you...

First.. kudos to all of the civilians that got involved to obtain the purse, make sure the elderly woman is ok and from what is written see that a first time purse snatched is not a repeat snatched.

Second... As humorous as it is to read about Mr. Pratt crapping on himself. There is a serious issue at hand we are over looking. The article speaks about how this guy one, is homeless, and two looked nervous and sketchy... Not how someone who is a pro acts... And it was right outside of a grocery store, would we be more simpathetic if he walked out with a cart of groceries with out paying? Things are tough these days and getting harder. The middle of winter in this area is not easy, now imagine your homeless. It's easy to say well they are probably on drugs that's why they are homeless... Did we not forget of the hundred of thousands of people who lost there homes over the past 5 years with the mortgage crisis. The unemployment rate??? We need to start looking at home, stop assisting other countries, we need to help people like Mr. Pratt so they aren't homeless and don't need to stoop so low to feel the only way to get money is to steal.... And yes get a job is the best answer, but if you don't have an address... You can't get a job.

Ok... Finally, LORI777... What are you thinking???? If Mr. Pratts life was soo great, why isn't he still with you? If he left you then he obviously wasn't happy. Sorry to put it that way, but it seems a little obsessive when you post 3 times he is your legal husband abut he left you for another woman... And now he is homeless and on drugs? But you tried to help him?
Honestly it sounds like a bitter ex-wife who both cannot let go and feels the need to bash at the same time... It's sad really.

All said and done.... Thankfully the woman wasn't hurt and, we were able to showcase some outstanding citizens. Hopefully Mr.Pratt gets a shower, a meal and the help he needs.




lol, no bashing. and like i said, ppl make choices. he chose drugs. wen u r a addict, ur only choice is drugs. yes, i did try and help because i was or am a bitter ex- wife. plz!!!! ppl that r on drugs will chose the drug until they want to help themselves. and, like anyone, i hav kids here and,my kids will always come first! gleen was offered help from me. he chose not to take it. i do hope he gets help and put his life together. for all the right reasons.


Do the people that post on these forums really come from Huron County? I mean, taught in schools around here?

Sitting In The ...

I know it may not seem like there are any intelligent people in this county given previous post but I assure you we do exist.


i used to work with glen and became good friends with him. he is a real nice guy and would give the shirt off his back for a friend or family member. how can anyone of you sit here and judge him this way. the bible says only god can judge me??? so by all of you sittting at home sinning against this man by your judgements is no differance than what he did, in Gods eyes. A sin is a sin, no matter how big or small. As for Lorri7777 yea he told me about you. your no Saint!!!what did you do to him??? and who did you cheat on him with again???


2 sides to every story, then theres the truth. never said iwas a saint. but, never cheated. did u know us wen we were together?? just askin. talk to all the friends we had, and, then, u can say somethin. i dont hate glenn. and, yes, he was a good person at one time. drugs always turns u in2 someone ur not. i know that. no judgement on glenn. no one is perfect, includeing me!!


ask anyone that knew glen nd i, they will all tell u.


you really don't know him at all. and you did cheat on him...


Well, we know he snatches purses from older people and runs from the police, and he also poops his pants in public. That's not a good first impression. That's what we know about him. I wouldn't hang out with someone like that, and neither would most people. Everyone who's bad probably seems good to some people.


hasnt been the first time he ran from police. he has been in nd out of trouble for 11 yrs now. yes, i will say this, wen he was clean, he was a really good person nd had a big heart. but, over the yrs, he has changed. sad.. robbing lil ole ladies is low. very low.


Wow people Lori has her nerve just found out that her son is in the some jail as Pratt and she claims she's such a good mom, she really needs to stop bashing as pratt did try to kill him self because of her. she was not good for him she would fight with him and then send him to jail when she sould have been going to jail right along with him.


well said Never2L8 she did alot to him and she did cheat on him. if they all really know how she is. she need to keep her mouth chut we all can say so much about her on her.


wow, get ur stories straight. never said i was the perfect mom. no, i did not cheat on glenn and the only time glenn went to jail over me is wen he beat me nd the neighbor called the police on him. he deserved to sit in jail for hitting on a woman. anyone can look on the norwalk muncipal record search nd see all 26 cases of glenn. u r his mother nd yea, i do get u wanting to stick up for ur son. but, facts r facts. u want a list of all his friends we knew b4 we seperated? all of them can tell u what happened. i was damn good to him nd put up with alot! only cuz i did love him and he was my husband. so, anyways, this is stupid and botton line is glenn needs help nd hopefully he does come out of this a better person


here is a note from his best friend that he grew up with.
Travis Codde
His childhood was awesome
Look at me. I had same childhood


Glen is sick with an addiction problem. Not saying he doesnt need to go to prison but he does need some sort of Rehab and prison isnt gonna help that. Hell u can get n e thing u want as far as drugs go in there, easier than u can on the streets. i hope he can get the help he needs so he can be the man that we all know he can be


very well said. i agree!!!