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Evanston police have charged a 19-year-old Chicago man with snatching the purse of an 80-year-old woman as she walked on Main Street near Custer Avenue Tuesday after visiting a nearby bank branch.

Cmdr. Jay Parrott says that on Wednesday night officers in the department’s tactical unit spotted Nelson Thomas, of 5420 S. Aberdeen Ave. in Chicago, driving a car that matched the description provided by witnesses of the one used in the robbery.

Officers managed to take Thomas into custody after he tried to flee from officers with two other occupants of the vehicle in the 2000 block of West Fargo Avenue in Chicago.

Parrott says the victim identified Thomas as the man who’d robbed her in a line-up conducted Friday at the Evanston police station. He says officers also recovered a bank card belonging to the victim at the time of the arrest.

Parrott says officers believe the other two subjects in the vehicle when it was stopped were also with Thomas at the time of the robbery, but no charges have been filed against them.

Thomas was charged Friday night with robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing and eluding police and driving on a suspended license.

He’s scheduled to appear in Skokie district court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 30.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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