Suspect charged in purse snatching also took police on chase in - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Suspect charged in purse snatching also took police on chase in 2010

Robert Ellis (Source: Floyd County Jail) Robert Ellis (Source: Floyd County Jail)
Keith Henderson (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News) Keith Henderson (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
D'Shawn Johnson (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News) D'Shawn Johnson (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
D'Shawn Johnson demonstrates how a theft gains access to the vehicle. (source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News) D'Shawn Johnson demonstrates how a theft gains access to the vehicle. (source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man accused of stealing purses at Louisville area gas stations, then taking police on a wild ride for about 50 minutes yesterday appeared today in courtroom in New Albany. For police, it's a case of Deja Vu. 

Robert Ellis, 45, now faces felonies for fleeing police and reckless endangerment among other charges in Floyd County after taking police on a chase from the Shively area to Sellersburg. We found out Ellis was actually on WAVE 3 News seven years ago for doing the same thing: Stealing a purse and taking police on a chase. 

In 2010, we covered the story when police and the victim told us Ellis snatched a purse at the Walmart in Clarksville, Indiana before taking police on a chase back into Louisville. 

Following the chase from Kentucky into Southern Indiana, purse after purse was pulled from Ellis's truck. Police say it's a familiar place to be for Ellis. A woman who didn't want to be identified told WAVE 3 News that Ellis made her one of his most recent victims. 

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"This man opened my passenger side door and took my purse out," the woman said. 

Back in 2010, a woman in Clarksville told us, he did the same thing to her before taking police on a chase. 

"It was really weird, she said, "you didn't see it coming." 

A woman in the hallway outside Floyd Superior Court n New Albany said her daughter was another of Ellis's victims. 

"He stole her rent money," the woman said, "shame on him."  

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson says more charges could be coming in Thursday's chase. 

"We're reviewing a possible operating while intoxicated charge," Henderson said, "as well based upon some information that the officers received." 

If Ellis was intoxicated Henderson said it's more likely drugs than alcohol based on police information. 

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The purse snatching move Ellis is accused of has been going on for years. Criminals known as sliders go to neighborhoods that you believe are safe looking for women and men who leave their doors unlocked and their purse or wallet in the passenger seat. D'Shawn Johnson, WAVE 3 News safety and security expert,  said when drivers get out of their car they are focused on the numbers on the gas gauge and the price going up. Because so many people drive SUVs, many with tinted windows, Johnson said it creates a blind spot. 

Most SUVs are six to eight feet tall. Johnson said if the door isn't locked the slider easily slips in. to show how easy it is Johnson demonstrated on the opposite side of an SUV hunched down where we couldn't see him.  

"They just get low and come around to here, open the vehicle, reach in take what they need, shut the vehicle door and walk away," Johnson said. 

Many people go to the same gas stations in the same neighborhoods and assume their safe. Johnson said that is exactly what slider criminals are looking for. 

WATCH: Connie Leonard's report here

TO protect yourself, Johnson says always lock you doors. If you have to leave windows or doors open in the heat because you have a child or pet inside the car, make sure you take your purse or wallet with you to the pump. 

Bond for Ellis was set at $75,000 cash. If Ellis doesn't make bond he won't be returned to Kentucky right away because it's likely he will have to deal with the Indiana charges first.

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