CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – An 80-year-old Synder woman remains in intensive care at ECMC after being seriously injured when a man in a grocery store parking lot tired to steal her purse Tuesday night, Cheektowaga police said.
The man, 32-year-old Michael T. Sawyer of Buffalo, was eventually caught by police and charged with attempted robbery and assault. He is being held on $200,000 bail.
Police said witnesses observed a man in a white Jeep grab the woman’s purse while she was in the Tops parking lot on Harlem Road near Kensington Avenue around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. The woman tried to hold onto the purse and was dragged by the vehicle, they said.
A Good Samaritan who witnessed the event followed the Jeep and was able to record the license plate. Police said the vehicle was reported stolen on April 1.
Buffalo Police were informed of the incident and located the vehicle parked on Miller Avenue near Broadway. When police later confronted Sawyer, he ran, but was apprehended in a backyard, they said.
Police said they “developed Michael Sawyer as a suspect based on the stolen vehicle report and past interactions with the vehicle and its operator.” Sawyer is known to police and has been arrested 24 times, including 14 previous felony charges, they said. Sawyer has also been charged for leading police on vehicle pursuits and reckless driving 10 times since 2016, police added.
Sawyer is scheduled to return to Cheektowaga Town Court on Monday at 9:30 a.m.
This story has been updated with new info from police
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.