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Lost sneaker helps nab suspect

Police say a 21-year-old man who stole a purse in Largo left a sneaker behind as he ran to his mother's car.

By JACOB H. FRIES
Published March 24, 2007


LARGO - In a twist on the classic story of Cinderella, our main character wears white Nike sneakers, not a pair of glass slippers, police said.

Corey Adams is 21, lives in Seminole with his mother and needed some money, said Largo police Officer Richard Tindall, who gave the following account on Friday:

Adams drove his mother's dark green Eagle Talon to the Largo Mall on Wednesday and stood outside the Target store, looking for someone to rob.

Two hours of surveillance video show Adams trailing several shoppers into the parking lot - out of view of cameras - and then returning to the store's front entrance empty-handed. He would later say he was building up the nerve to commit robbery.

He got the nerve at 7:50 p.m. He followed a 52-year-old woman to her car and, as she put her shopping bags in the back seat, he grabbed her purse. He took off running through the parking lot and the woman chased after him.

One of his shoes fell off.

He jumped in his mother's car and sped away, but not before several witnesses got his tag number. With it, Tindall traced the vehicle to a home in Seminole. He knocked on the door, spoke with Adams' mother, then with Adams himself. He denied being involved in the purse snatching.

Tindall went to his cruiser and grabbed the white shoe from the front seat. He placed it on the car hood and just looked at Adams, who was sitting in his mother's doorway.

"He looks over my shoulder at the shoe," Tindall recalled.

Adams began to cry. He confessed, wrote an apology and led Tindall to a place behind a 7-Eleven where he had ditched the purse. Everything was inside but the cash.

Adams was booked on a robbery charge and remained in Pinellas County Jail on Friday in lieu of $10,000 bail.

"I was actually calling him Cinderella because I wanted to see if the shoe fit," he said.

As the story goes, it did.

Jacob H. Fries can be reached at 445-4156 or jfries@sptimes.com.