Police arrest man they believe knocked down elderly woman for her purse

Willie Spates
Willie Spates

Police have arrested a man they believe knocked down an elderly woman to steal her purse a few weeks ago.

Willie Spates, 64, of East St. Louis, has been charged with robbery of a person over the age of 60, a Class 1 felony.

Granite City police reported that a man allegedly ran up to an elderly female in the parking lot of a shopping center on Nameoki Road on the morning of April 18. He allegedly grabbed her purse and knocked the woman to the ground. He then allegedly fled in a red or maroon minivan, which was caught by security cameras.

The woman was injured in the robbery and was taken to Gateway Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for her injuries and released. Police said the woman hit her head during the incident and could not recall a detailed physical description.

However, Granite City police found similar incidents in Florissant, Mo., and conducted a joint investigation with Florissant and East St. Louis police.

Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli set Spates’ bail at $500,000.

Spates remains in custody in the Granite City Police Department, pending transfer to the Madison County Jail.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald