Police identify suspect wanted in string of purse snatchings, vehicle theft

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department has one person in custody wanted in connection with several auto crimes.

Mt. Moriah Station officers also found a stolen silver Honda Civic, which they said was used by the suspect to carry out the crimes.

Police believe the suspect, later identified as 17-year-old Keith Calhoun, is responsible for at least five crimes that took place Monday and Tuesday.

Police said Calhoun stole a silver Honda Civic from a female victim at the Grizzly Mart on Monday around 9:30 a.m. He got away with the victim's social security card, birth certificate, and credit card. The victim also told police one of the victims had a gun during the theft.

The second crime happened when a victim's purse was taken out of her car at the Kroger gas station at Poplar Plaza on Tuesday around 3:00 p.m. The victim told police her car was running with the doors unlocked when the suspect tried to take her keys. She yelled "Please don't do it" and a man exited her car with her wallet and driver's license.

The third crime happened when the victim was parked outside her friend's house with the doors unlocked. The suspect entered her car through the passenger door. The victim told police she asked "What are you doing?!" and he replied "It's OK. You know me! Do you have anything?!" The victim then ran from her vehicle and watched as the suspect rummaged through the car.

The fourth crime happened at Neil's Grille and Bar on Quince Road. When the victim parked near the entrance, the suspect snatched her purse from her passenger side door and ran. He got away with her iPhone 7, glasses, wallet, cash, cards all valued at over $3,000.

The fifth crime occurred around 10 p.m. Tuesday night when the victim was exiting a gas station at 6193 Mt Moriah Extended. The victim told police she was walking to her car when the suspect opened her passenger door and stole her purse.

Wednesday afternoon officers spotted the silver Honda Civic matching the description of the one used in a string of thefts targeting women throughout Memphis over the last few days, so they followed it to a Citgo gas station near the intersection of South Perkins Road and American Way.

The suspect ran into the store and officers had to break the glass to get inside, where they arrested him.

Some of the women reported seeing two other suspects, so there are possibly three suspects involved in these thefts.

The clerks at the gas station didn't expect their day would turn out like this. One clerk said everything happened so fast.

"I just know somebody come by some gas and then the police tried to catch him, they run through the door," she said.

Police confirmed the silver Honda they had been looking for belongs to Nakeitha Becton, who reported it stolen on Monday.

She said she was at another gas station in South Memphis when she saw a man eyeing her car.

"I went in the gas station, and I saw a man walk around my car," Becton said.

The next thing she knew, the man had jumped in her car.

"I was beating on the car door saying, 'Hey get out of my car! Get out of my car.' And he backed up and swerved off," Becton said.

She then learned other women were being targeted at gas stations and shopping centers by someone driving her car.

Those women reported their purses, wallets, and other valuables were stolen.

"I think he's a desperate man," she said. "He a punk, because he's just targeting women. You think women aren't powerful. You think they're not going to stop you or something."

Calhoun is charged with auto theft, three counts of burglary, evading arrest, and assaulting a police officer.

A mugshot for Calhoun was not immediately available.

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