Cross-dressing suspects steal $10K worth of purses, lead police on high-speed chase

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EDINBURGH, Ind. – Police in Edinburgh arrested four people accused of a “grab-and-go” theft that led to a high-speed police chase.

The four cross-dressing thieves stole thousands of dollars in purses from the Edinburgh Premium Outlet Mall. The suspects then led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash.

From the moment they snatched the first Michael Kors purse, the suspects, wearing hats and wigs, scooped up as many high dollars purses as they could.

“In under 10 seconds they grabbed an arm full of purses valued at a little over 10 thousand dollars,” said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann.

The suspects quickly tossed their armfuls of expensive purses into the getaway car.

Officers from the Edinburgh Police Department spotted the suspect's car, which tried to evade police by making a U-turn. Officer Aaron Robinson activated his emergency lights and tried to initiate a traffic stop.

The Camry didn’t stop, marking the start of a high-speed chase that went into Brown County and involved several departments, including the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus police, Indiana State Police, tje Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Nashville police and officers from the Department of Natural Resources.

Robinson said the suspect drove recklessly, tried to hit other vehicles and showed “no regard for others.”

A Bartholomew County sheriff’s unit was involved in a crash with the vehicle while trying to end the pursuit. The suspect’s car crashed into another vehicle at State Road 135 and State Road 46 before going over a steep embankment and coming to a stop, finally bringing the chase to an end.

“Well obviously a pursuit is a no-win situation for all involved,” said Mann.

Police say they felt the need to pursue the suspects because the same vehicle with Tennessee plates matched the description of a car used in several other recent crimes.

“Given the description of the vehicle and the suspects matched and their disregard for others safety, officers felt it necessary to stop this vehicle,” said Mann.

Despite being caught red-handed with the purses still in the car, all four suspects, including a 17-year-old, refused to cooperate.

Police identified the driver as Juwan Williams, 23, of Nashville, Tennessee. The backseat passengers were identified as Benji Amos, 20, Nashville, Tenn., and Tiara Moore, 23, Nashville, Tenn. A 17-year-old from Memphis, Tenn., was in the front seat, police said.

All four suspects went to Columbus Regional Hospital after complaining of pain.

Two officers were hurt during the pursuit. Bartholomew County Deputy Terry Holderness was hurt when the Camry hit his squad car. Deputy Josh Stargell from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office slipped and fell while going down the side of the hill after the Camry went over the embankment. They were both also examined at Columbus Regional.

Police say Williams bragged he would get out of jail and commit another robbery and this time he wouldn’t get caught.

“The driver did make a statement in a few weeks he’d have another car and do this again,” said Mann.

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