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2 teens accused of taking purses

Authorities say the pair stole three purses because they needed money to buy a Father's Day present.

By JAMIE MALERNEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 20, 2000


Two teenagers went on a purse-snatching spree Monday, targeting women in Spring Hill and Brooksville before they were caught in their getaway vehicle, authorities said.

Before being taken into custody, the teens made off with three purses after they attacked four women -- ages 43, 57, 64 and 81.

Michael J. Borders, 18, faces counts of robbery by force, robbery by purse snatching, burglary and principal to attempted robbery. The 15-year-old, who authorities say was driving the vehicle most of the time, faces counts of principal to robbery by force, principal to robbery by snatching, principal to burglary of a conveyance and attempted robbery. The Times is withholding his name because he is a juvenile.

According to police reports, the spree began at 5:30 a.m. Monday when Borders and the 15-year-old walked into a Hess Express convenience store at 1950 E Jefferson St. After buying a few items, the teens left the store and approached a 57-year-old woman from behind. Borders grabbed the woman around the neck and took her purse, which contained $68, a report said. The two then fled the area in the 15-year-old's 1987 blue Nissan pickup.

They drove to a Lil' Champ store at 999 N Broad St. in Brooksville, where at about 5:52 a.m. the 15-year-old reached over the counter and grabbed a handful of lottery tickets and ran, said Brooksville police Detective Ron Woods. Police said they didn't pursue charges against the teens for the alleged ticket theft.

From there, the two drove to the Kmart at 19388 Cortez Blvd. in Brooksville. This time, police said, Borders moved into the driver's seat, and the 15-year-old tried to take the purse of a store employee who was entering the building. The 43-year-old woman refused to let go of her purse, and after Borders yelled to the younger boy that he was going to get them caught, the 15-year-old jumped back into the truck, Woods said. On their way out of the parking lot, Borders ran the pickup into a fence, but kept going.

After leaving Kmart, the teens drove to the parking lot at Heart of Florida, 12128 Cortez Blvd., west of Brooksville, where they saw a 64-year-old woman entering her car about 8:25 a.m. Borders got out of the truck, reached into the woman's car through the window and took her purse, which contained $166, a report said.

They fled the area, and about five minutes later saw an 81-year-old woman walking outside Nellie's Restaurant at Cortez Boulevard and U.S. 19 in Weeki Wachee. The 15-year-old stopped the truck, and Borders approached the woman from behind and took her purse, authorities said.

Hernando County sheriff's deputies finally pulled the teens over when their car was seen driving on U.S. 19 and turning east onto Centralia Road. The two were later identified by the women who were attacked.

Borders of 282 Springtime St. in Spring Hill remained in the Hernando County Jail without bail Monday evening. The 15-year-old, who is from Homosassa, was taken to the juvenile detention center in Ocala.

Woods said that when he asked Borders why the teens had attacked the women and taken their purses, Borders told him he "needed money to buy a belated Father's Day present."

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