Ankle monitor clears man of purse robbery
by Andrea Ruse
An electronic ankle monitor cleared a parolee of committing one of two strong-armed robberies in Manhattan Beach this month but landed him in jail anyway when he was found to be in violation of his parole.
Manhattan Beach Police are still searching for the suspect(s) responsible for two downtown purse snatchings that occurred four days apart. The MBPD earlier this month arrested Justin Tyson of Fontana in connection with the second robbery.
“The ankle bracelet verified that Tyson was in Manhattan Beach, but wasn’t at the location of the robbery,” said Manhattan Beach Police Officer Stephanie Martin. “But it turned out he was outside the area he’s allowed to travel within, due to his parole.”
On June 6, the MBPD arrested Tyson, 29, minutes after a Manhattan woman’s purse was stolen off her arm at roughly 1 a.m. near the intersection of Highland Avenue and Ninth Street. The victim said a man had approached her on the sidewalk and asked for a cigarette, then grabbed her purse and fled.
Martin said that Tyson, a black male, was arrested several minutes later a half-mile from the scene, based on the victim’s description of the suspect as a male of mixed race, 25 to 30 years old with a thin build and wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and jeans. No property was recovered at the time of Tyson’s arrest.
Immediately after the arrest, two witnesses, including the victim, independently identified Tyson as the man responsible for the robbery, according to police. One witness claimed to have seen the suspect flee the scene of the crime, Martin said.
But a court-issued GPS ankle monitor Tyson wears as a condition of his parole placed him away from the scene of the crime.
“Oftentimes, people say a person is involved in a crime, but it happened so quickly, they don’t really know,” Martin said. “It is not uncommon for a witness to give a description that does not match the same characteristics or ethnicity or race of the person found to be responsible.”
Tyson remains in custody on a parole violation, according to police, since the monitor placed him outside the 50-mile radius within he is allowed to travel.
Police are also still searching for the person responsible for a June 2 purse snatching incident, during which the robber simulated having a handgun, according to Martin.
Authorities described the suspect as a white male, 25 to 30 years old, 5 ft. 6 in. to 6 ft. tall, and 140 to 170 lbs. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and white shorts.
No suspects are in custody for either incident at this time.
Anyone with information regarding either of these incidents should contact Officer Martin at (310) 802-5186 or MBPD Detective Sgt. Brian Brown at (310) 802-5123. ER