By Ed Runyan
Police in Milton Township and Warren believe Milton police have arrested the man who committed the purse snatching at the Pat Catan’s store in Warren and one in Milton Township one day earlier.
Eric W. Uphold, 41, of Goshen Road, Goshen Township, is in the Mahoning County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond after being arrested Tuesday in Milton. He was arraigned in Area Court in Austintown Wednesday on robbery and felonious-assault charges.
He is charged in Warren Municipal Court with aggravated robbery. All the charges together carry possible jail sentences of 26 years if convicted.
Police in Warren distributed a photo to the news media of the blue minivan used in the Pat Catan’s robbery Friday.
Police said a white male in the van injured an elderly couple from Newton Falls after asking the woman for directions in the store parking lot, grabbing her purse, then driving off, dragging the woman and sideswiping the man.
Lt. Jeffrey Lewis of the Milton Township Police Department said his department suspected that the Pat Catan’s robber was the same one who committed a purse snatching in Milton Township Dec. 8 and were watching for him.
On Tuesday morning, Uphold came back through the township in the blue minivan while Lewis was on patrol, and Lewis spotted him at state Route 534 and Mahoning Avenue.
The van and the driver fit the description given by the victims in Warren and Milton, especially Uphold’s dark-framed glasses, Lewis said. Lewis stopped Uphold a short distance later, near Palmyra Road.
After the arrest, Warren police put Uphold’s photo in a lineup of mug shots for the Newton Falls couple to view, and they picked out Uphold as the man who robbed them Dec. 9, said Wayne Mackey, Warren police detective.
The Milton Township victim also identified Uphold as the man who took her purse, Lewis said.
In the Milton robbery, police say Uphold asked to use a 38-year-old Ellsworth Road woman’s cellphone at 10 p.m., then asked to borrow a gas can.
While she was walking to the barn to get one, the suspect took her purse from her car and drove off, Lewis said.
The woman described the man as being 5-foot-10 and 360 pounds, a “buzz” haircut, and wearing black-framed glasses.
Lewis said that person didn’t fit the description of anyone living in Milton Township, so he suspected that it was someone passing through the area.