Daytona Beach, FL – A purse-snatching in the parking lot of Halifax Health Medical Center ends with a 24-year-old Daytona Beach man confessing to the crime later that same day.
Devante K. Harris was arrested by the Daytona Beach Police Department around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (October 3rd) on South Charles Street after leading police on a chase which saw him break numerous traffic laws in an attempt to get away, according to this video from Air One, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
Deputies/Air One assisted @DBCops1 on a strong-arm robbery call yesterday where a suspect snatched a purse from a woman at @HalifaxHealth and threatened to kill a witness who tried to intervene. pic.twitter.com/jxQyz6flQ8
— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) October 4, 2018
Harris – who’s been booked at Volusia County Jail six other times since February 2013 – is now held without bond on five charges, including three felonies and two misdemeanors. The felonies are robbery without a weapon, cocaine possession and fleeing/attempting to elude, while the misdemeanors are no valid driver’s license and reckless driving.
It all started around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday when a 46-year-old woman parked at the hospital and walked towards the Halifax Professional Building, according to the arrest report.
As she did so, the driver of a red Chevrolet Impala stopped to let her cross in front of the vehicle and that’s when a man – since identified as Harris – got out of a passenger seat, walked up to the woman and took her black and while Michael Kors purse from her shoulder as she struggled to keep her purse.
DBPD spokesperson Lyda Longa says a man who witnessed the attack tried to stop Harris, but Harris threatened to kill him before he ran off on foot.
“The Good Samaritan could not catch Harris, but he was able to catch the license plate and make and model of the car Harris was riding in,” Longa added. “Later in the day, officers spotted the car Harris had been riding in earlier. This time, Harris was driving.”
That happened around 3:30 p.m. near the Mason Avenue/Nova Road intersection, by which point the woman’s debit card had been used at a local gas station after it had been taken, per the report.
The officer who found the Impala initially lost sight of it soon afterward, but managed to find the vehicle again around 30 minutes later near International Speedway Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
“The officer activated his lights and siren, attempting to stop Harris,” Longa noted. “The latter, however, refused and took off, driving recklessly westbound on ISB.”
The Impala then drove onto beachside before using the ISB bridge to come back to the mainland, going through red lights and driving in a generally unlawful and unsafe manner, according to DBPD.
Air One kept an eye on the vehicle from the air until the driver abandoned the Impala on Segrave Street, which happened after a DBPD officer was able to sucessfully deploy stop sticks on the tires of the Impala near the foot of the ISB bridge. From there, the helicopter’s camera kept an eye on the driver until he was caught by police on the ground.
When questioned afterward, Harris admitted that he fled because he didn’t have a license and that he took the woman’s purse because he and the man driving the Impala at the time of the purse-snatching needed gas money for the vehicle, according to the report.
Police say Harris wasn’t very cooperative about the identity of the other man, whom he called “Little Bro”. Investigators believe they know who the man is, but Harris would not identify him directly during a photo lineup other than to say one of the six mugshots shown was Little Bro.
Detectives eventually recovered the purse in a trash can at a gas station on U.S. 1, while officers who searched Harris after he went into custody found a small amount of cocaine in one of his pockets, per the report.