Cops Use iPhone App to Nab Alleged Drive-By Purse Snatcher; Track suspect to Cross Bay CVS after victim is dragged, run over by SUV

Cops Use iPhone App to Nab Alleged Drive-By Purse Snatcher; Track suspect to Cross Bay CVS after victim is dragged, run over by SUV

PHOTO:  Police last Friday cornered the alleged purse snatcher in the parking lot of this Howard Beach CVS. Photo Courtesy of Google


A Howard Beach man last week was charged with robbery, resisting arrest, and other offenses after cops used his alleged victim’s “Find My iPhone” application to track the purse-snatching suspect to a CVS parking lot, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

William Oliveri, 38, was arraigned last Friday on a criminal complaint charging him with first- and second-degree robbery, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, resisting arrest and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was ordered held on $50,000 bail and to return to court on Wednesday. City Department of Correction records show that as of Wednesday evening, Oliveri was still locked up on Rikers Island.

Oliveri is accused of robbing a woman of her pocketbook by pulling up alongside her in his SUV as she was walking along a South Ozone Park street, grabbing the purse’s shoulder strap, and then fleeing at a high rate of speed, dragging the woman until she let go of the purse and fell to the ground, at which point Oliveri’s vehicle allegedly ran over her fingers.

The victim, Brown said, suffered multiple bruises, contusions, lacerations and abrasions to her fingers, arms and legs allegedly from being dragged, and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

The victim told police that her iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, and her wallet, which contained her driver’s license, credit cards, and pay stub were in the purse. Using the “Find My iPhone” GPS app, police allegedly tracked the location of her phone to the CVS on Cross Bay Boulevard near 157th Avenue.

Cops observed what appeared to be Oliveri’s SUV in the parking lot and approached after he returned to the vehicle. Oliveri allegedly attempted to avoid being handcuffed. Among the items allegedly recovered from the SUV was the victim’s iPhone, two glassine envelopes and a ziplock bag containing heroin, a metal container containing seven Xanax pills from a purse on the passenger side floor, and a cocaine-filled pipe.

Oliveri’s attorney did not return messages seeking comment. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.


By Michael V. Cusenza


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