Thanks to a FOX 4 viewer’s tip, Mesquite police say the purse snatcher who attacked and injured an 80- year-old great grandmother is in jail.
After FOX 4 reported Melanie King's arrest on Saturday, several other police agencies are now asking for help identifying a man she may have been working with committing possibly as many as a dozen similar crimes in North Texas.
Records show King is on probation for three previous felonies. But investigators in Allen, Arlington and Cedar Hill believe she and another man be responsible for similar crimes in their cities.
Cedar Hill Police Sgt. Chad Cooley is hoping someone will identify a man that King has been seen with.
“The guy wearing the Dallas Cowboys attire with the large ring on his right hand, we've linked him to offenses in all three cities,” Cooley said.
In the last five months, Sgt. Cooley says the man and King may be responsible for 12 incidents where purses or wallets have been stolen and credit cards immediately used to buy gift cards. There are 10 victims in Cedar Hill and at least one in both Arlington and Allen.
“They're hitting fitness parking lots in their cities as well and again turning around and using the cards in the cities where they are breaking into the car,” Cooley said.
It was the robbery of an 80-year old great grandmother last week in Mesquite that caught the attention of police across North Texas. The victim was dragged during the attack outside a Kroger and slammed to the ground, fracturing her face.
King was seen in that case wearing a distinctive t-shirt and driving a Chrysler 300. Police say in the additional cases, King and her accomplice used a silver Chevy Impala and a black Infinity SUV.
King's criminal history includes aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and credit card abuse. She pleaded guilty last November and was put on five years’ probation.
"They'll probably come at this lady with everything they've got now that she's had one chance and committed these crimes while on probation,” Cooley said.
Former prosecutor Toby Shook, who doesn't represent anyone in the case, says King could wind up facing life in prison.
"The bottom line is she's in a bad spot because she's actually on probation,” Shook said. “And she's on probation in Judge Holmes’ court. And Judge Holmes doesn’t tolerate this type of behavior, and she can give her up to 20 years with a much lesser proof than reasonable doubt. So she's in a spot where she faces lots of time from the judge and also perhaps from a jury."
Shook says King's probation will likely be revoked and denied bond. Her book in sheet indicates she's also being held for two credit card abuse cases there as well.