NEW DETAILS: Woman hospitalized, and two arrested in purse snatching case


UPDATE: Beckley Chief of Police Lonnie Christian released new details into the purse snatching case. After the the incident in the Hobby Lobby parking lot, Beckley officers patrolled in an effort to find the suspects and their reported vehicle in which they were operating.  Within two hours, Beckley officer Corporal Neal Smith spotted the vehicle on the parking lot of Rite Aid on Harper Road. When the officer pulled into the parking lot one of the suspects ran into the nearby woods, and the other suspect stayed in the vehicle.  The second suspect was eventually tracked down by Beckley officers who set up a perimeter in the area. 

ORIGINAL: Two men are arrested for a series of purse thefts in Raleigh County. 

The Sheriff’s Department and City Police had been getting reports of purse snatching’ for the past few weeks. However after two more robberies happened just Monday afternoon they were finally able to arrest the two men responsible for the crime.

“I would just tell them I’m sorry and I didn’t mean for it to go as far as it did,” said James Lowe, suspect.

James Lowe of Beckley and Zachery Cernuto of Crab Orchard were arrested and charged with First and Second Degree Robbery and Grand Larceny, among other charges. Lowe and Cernuto are believed to be involved in a string of purse snatchings in the Beckley and MacArthur areas.

They’re also believed to be responsible for robbing an 86-year-old woman in the Hobby Lobby parking lot Monday afternoon in Beckley. The woman was dragged by the suspect’s car after the two men grabbed her purse from a moving vehicle, and she refused to let go.

She suffered wounds so severe, her bones were clearly visible. Shortly after the incident officers from the Beckley Police Department, along with Raleigh County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested the two men.

Even though both men accused of the robberies are off the streets, the Sheriff’s Department still encourages people to be mindful of others around them.

“Even though these two are arrested right now, any women, elderly women, whenever they’re walking into these stores they need to pay attention to their surroundings and if someone does try to take your purse don’t try and fight the,” said Deputy Redden, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.

Cernuto and Lowe were arraigned earlier this Monday at the Raleigh County Courthouse.

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