Parking lot mugging

Woman knocked down in attempted purse snatching

The Cortez Police Department and the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office are providing preventive tips to residents after a local woman was assaulted in an attempted purse theft on Tuesday night.

The woman was assaulted in the City Market parking lot as she was approached her car after shopping at the grocery store.

According to an email to the Cortez Journal, a man grabbed the woman from behind in an attempt to get her purse.

The woman was knocked down, and her purse strap broke which prevented the assailant from stealing it. When she screamed, the man fled the scene.

The incident occurred shortly after 7 p.m.

The man had a dark hoodie pulled around his face and no other description was given.

Law officers, City Market employees, and a couple of bystanders were prompt with attention and help.

A woman who was putting away her groceries witnessed the assault and called 911. According to the email, the victim has a sore neck and a bruise on her backside.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell said the victim did some correct things on Tuesday night, especially when she started yelling for help.

Spruell said people need to be aware of their surroundings and also need to look confident.

He said muggers often look at who they perceive as easy targets.

Spruell also said car keys should be in hand well before approaching the vehicle to give an attacker less time to act.

"Don't be paranoid. Be aware," Spruell said.

"Know what you want to do," the sheriff said. "The best thing you can do is scream loudly."

The Cortez Police Department also said awareness of surroundings is key, and how an individual presents him or herself is extremely important. It also recommends that people always remain alert when in public, rather than being engrossed in thought.

When walking, the CPD recommends using a flashlight at night, avoiding areas that are not well-lit and to walk with a friend whenever possible.

Another recommendation is to park the car in a well lit area, always locking the doors to the car and having car keys in hand before leaving the location.

The CPD also recommends for people to be aware of their purses, wallets, fanny packs and to never flash large amounts of money around.

"Don't put yourself in bad situations," according to the "awareness is the key" Cortez Police Department document.

Spruell also said incidents like this one are extremely rare for this area,

michaelm@cortezjournal.com