A man who was chased down by witnesses and police after a suspected purse-snatching incident entered a "not guilty" plea to the allegation Monday.
Vermilion resident Glenn C. Pratt II, 31, is charged with robbery and tampering with evidence in connection with a Jan. 17 incident. Each of the third-degree felonies is punishable by nine months to three years to five years in prison.
"The defendant attempted to run from some people who saw him commit this crime," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said in court.
One of those witnesses was Crystal Jackson, a stylist with Tammy's Salon of Style. Jackson earlier told the Reflector she was inside the salon as she watched the suspect and believed Pratt was going to rob the 63-year-old woman "because he looked like he was really nervous about something."
The man who called 9-1-1 was taking his groceries to his car when he reported Pratt was acting suspiciously.
"It was just his body language made it appear he was stalking (someone)," said Norwalk Police Capt. Mike Conney, who eventually caught Pratt on foot as he tried to hide behind a fence in some underbrush.
Pratt fled from Columbia Gas and ACC Norwalk employees after he caught his breath at the VFW parking lot. Police and witnesses said the suspect ditched the purse during the foot pursuit, which witnesses returned to the owner.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he was in the hallway of the Norwalk Municipal Court and police department building when the victim reported the crime.
"If I understand it correctly, this was a purse-snatching case," Longo said. "Nobody got hurt."
Pratt must post a $50,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail. He is prohibited from being on the premises of Schild's IGA and from contacting the victim.
Leffler said Pratt's criminal history includes "acts of violence" similar to this incident. His trial is set for April 16.