Man knocks woman, 81, to ground, steals her purse, authorities say

Man claims he lost his job, needed money for rent, deputies say

(Photo courtesy of MCSO)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of robbing an 81-year-old woman was arrested Thursday, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said a white male knocked the woman to the ground Wednesday afternoon at a Walmart in Summerfield, took her purse and fled the scene.

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The suspect fled in a late 1990s or 2000s white Ford Expedition, according to deputies.

A detective who was driving down Highway 42 said he pulled over around noon Thursday to help people who had been involved in a traffic incident. While he was helping them, he saw the robbery suspect's vehicle pass. 

Deputies conducted a traffic stop and found Geoffrey Romano, 30, according to the report. Romano was detained for questioning, during which he confessed to the robbery and having the woman's purse in his car, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives said Romano told them that he committed the robbery because he had recently lost his job and needed money for rent.

The victim's purse contained about $60, several credit cards and her driver's license, deputies said. She suffered multiple injuries, including a broken nose.

Deputies said Romano is charged with robbery by sudden snatching. 

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