Poconos Coal

Woman, 81, chases pair who stole her purse, police say

Police say victim rammed her car into escaping vehicle

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. - An 81-year-old woman rammed her car into the fleeing car of alleged purse thieves, who were eventually arrested.

William Hayhurst and Erin Vanmatre were arrested Tuesday afternoon after the pair stole the woman's purse, according to Pocono Mountain Regional police.

The incident began shortly after 3:30 p.m. in a parking lot near the five-points intersection in Mount Pocono, Monroe County.

A woman, later identified as Vanmatre, 30, approached the 81-year-old woman and asked for $10 in gas money, according to police.

The woman offered $20 because she didn't have a $10 bill, police said.

As the older woman drove away, a small, red vehicle followed her to the area of Knob Road, where she parked. Police said Vanmatre and a man, later identified as Hayhurst, 34, grabbed the 81-year-old's purse as she sat in the front seat of her car, according to police.

As the pair tried to drive away, the woman ran her vehicle into Vanmatre and Hayhurst's car, police said. She followed the two and watched them throw her purse out the window onto Knob Road.

Police found the suspects' vehicle, which had damage consistent with that described by the victim, and arrested Hayhurst and Vanmatre.

Hayhurst, of Pocono Township, and Vanmatre, of Barrett Township, now face felony charges of robbery and conspiracy and misdemeanor counts of theft, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

The pair was arraigned Wednesday morning and committed to the Monroe County jail after failing to post $50,000 bail.

A third person in the car, James Castellano, 34, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Monroe County Sheriff's Department and taken to county jail.

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