Drug-seeking robbers suspected in elderly woman’s mugging

UPDATED! SUSPECT JAILED: See why this Centennial neighborhood victim thinks a female thug followed her home, stole her purse, and knocked her down …

Although officials aren’t saying so, many – including the victim of a strong-arm robbery started in this Fred Meyer store – think the bandit, a woman,  was seeking a vulnerable target who might have pharmaceuticals.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It wasn’t a big shopping trip for Marge – she preferred that her last name not be used – when she went to the SE 148th Avenue Fred Meyer store, just a couple of blocks away from her home, at about 2:15 p.m. on January 8.

Thinking back on it, Marge later told reporters at her residence – in a manufactured-home park in the Centennial neighborhood – she did notice a woman watching her as she took in her pharmaceutical prescriptions to be refilled…but didn’t think much of it at the time.

That all changed when the 89-year-old woman became the victim of a strong-arm robbery, just outside her home.

Police roll into the neighborhood to investigate the mugging of a 89-year-old woman in front of her home.

“East Precinct District Officers arrived at the victim’s home in the at 2100 block of SE 148th Place 2:39 p.m.,” reported Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer, Sgt. Pete Simpson.

“As she pulled into her driveway after a shopping trip, an orange 1970s station wagon parked in front of her mailbox,” Simpson said.

A woman – whom Marge described as a white female in her 30s, 5’7″ tall, medium build – got out of the back seat of the vehicle.

It soon became clear to the victim – she wasn’t attacked just because she’d rebuked people for parking in front of the mailboxes in the complex.

“I told the woman that she couldn’t park there, in a fire lane,” Marge recalled. “When I turned toward my car to get my groceries, that’s when she grabbed my purse.”

Marge valiantly held onto her bag, but the woman pulled harder and threw her to the ground, Simpson said. After grabbing the purse from the victim, the suspect and vehicle left the area.
“The victim suffered several facial, hand, and leg injuries, and was treated at the scene by medical personnel, and later at a Portland hospital,” reported Simpson.

During interviews, Marge said she “felt better than she looked”.

The victim’s purse contained a small amount of cash, credit and debit cards, and other miscellaneous ID and property. The victim’s glasses were also broken during the struggle.

Marge’s face looked battered, but when she demurely slid her skirt up her legs, it was clear her fall had caused large bruises.

Recalling the incident, Marge said that perhaps the attacker was scouting the pharmacy counter, looking for someone picking up pharmaceuticals who appeared to be an easy mugging target. “I really hope people will speak up if they saw anything, and help the police catch her,” Marge said. “And, I hope she gets a long sentence.”


 Meet the suspected mugger: 33-year-old Tiffany Denise Smith

About noon on January 14, East Precinct officers and Robbery detectives arrested 33-year-old Tiffany Denise Smith in connection with both of these cases.

“Smith was arrested at SE 130th Avenue and Division Street on an unrelated arrest warrant out of Clackamas County,” Simpson said.

She was booked in to the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) that evening at 7:31 p.m., on twelve charges, ranging from Robbery in the Third Degree, two Assault charges, and seven counts of Identity Theft.

Public records shows that Smith has been arrested several times. A notable arrest came on August 5, when Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested her on charges of  prostitution, public indecency and probation violations with Oregon State Police Officer Richard Narvaez.

Narvaez showed up for his court date. However Smith, meanwhile, did not appear at her arraignment on August 9, and a warrant was issued for her arrest with bail set at $10,000.

Smith remains incarcerated at MCDC in lieu of $87,250 bail for her current set of charges.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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