Police say Indiana man leads police on high speed chase after stealing purse

By Maira Ansari - bio | email

CLARK COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A holiday shopping trip turned out to be terrifying for a Kentuckiana woman.

Saturday, Cindy Ribelin of Salem, Indiana made a late night trip to Walmart in Clarksville. She was in the parking lot when she says a man stole her purse and police say that man ended up leading officers on a high speed chase.

"Oh my God, it was freaky," said Ribelin. "It was really weird, I didn't even see it coming. He was gone."

Ribelin was doing her holiday shopping on Saturday with her two daughters Tera Mull and Sara Burgan. Ribelin was unloading her bags from her cart to her car.

That's when police say 39-year-old Robert Ellis drove up behind her, reached out of his car window and snatched her purse!

"All in the same motion the grocery cart hit my car and hit me," said Ribelin. "I turned to the right and seen my wallet slide across the road and then I was like what happened."

Cindy's two daughters jumped out of the car.

"I called 911 immediately and followed the car's taillights and told them everywhere he was going," said Sara Burgan.

Sara says from the Walmart parking lot she could see Ellis make a left onto Veterans Parkway, took 65 South, and headed into Kentucky where a short time later he was met by police.

"He went up to the Watterson Expressway and ended up in the vicinity of 39th street in Louisville," said Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull. "After he was cornered in that area he did get out of his vehicle and fled from police on foot and hid and they ultimately apprehended him."

During the chase a Louisville Metro Police officer was hurt when he fell on ice. Ellis was taken into custody and is currently at Metro Corrections.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull is now charging Ellis in Indiana.

"His charges in this incident are robbery, criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement, and a habitual offender count," said Mull.

As for Cindy she got her purse back and is thankfully okay. She now offers advice to other shoppers.

"My advice to women shopping, put your purse in your car before you start unloading groceries or Christmas packages," said Ribelin.

Ellis was wanted for previous run-ins with the law. In Louisville, he's facing criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement charges.

A warrant has also been issued so Ellis can face his charges in Indiana.

Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All rights reserved.