A Jefferson Parish man was convicted Monday morning (May 22) of knocking a woman to the ground while stealing her wallet and cell phone, and causing her to fracture her right hip.
Ronald Wallace, 48, was found guilty as charged of purse snatching, following a judge trial that lasted less than two hours.
The crime happened about 7 a.m., on Sept. 23. The victim, a 61-year-old woman, had just purchased donuts at a business in the 3300 block of Jefferson Highway, and was walking to her car in the parking lot when Wallace approached her from behind.
He told her something, and when she turned to see him behind her, Wallace forcibly grabbed her wallet and cell phone. During the struggle, the woman fell to the ground, injuring her hip.
Wallace fled on foot into the adjacent neighborhood on Brown Street. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office used a cell phone app to locate her phone and some of her belongings, which were recovered about two blocks from where Wallace stole them. Deputies canvasing the area recovered her wallet on Brown Street.
Within a week of the crime, the JPSO Regional DNA Laboratory identified Wallace’s genetic material on the wallet. Detectives were able to include Wallace’s mug shot in a photographic line-up, and the victim was able to identify her attacker.
Wallace had been released from state prison less than two months earlier for a conviction of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Detectives went to the address his parole officer had, eventually leading to Wallace’s arrest at the Jefferson Highway restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher.
Wallace waived a jury trial, leaving it to 24th Judicial District Judge Lee Faulkner to weigh the evidence in the case. Immediately following the state resting its case, Judge Faulkner rendered his verdict: guilty as charged. Wallace is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20.
Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese prosecuted the case.