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Suspect charged in 15 purse-snatchings

Police say they've arrested a serial purse-snatcher from Central Islip who stole 15 pocketbooks over a three-week spree.

The suspect, Ernesto Suarez, 33, was caught on Friday afternoon after he grabbed another purse in a Deer Park Kohl's parking lot, police said.

The victim gave police the suspect's license plate number, which was relayed to officers in the field, said Det. Sgt. William Rand, a supervisor of the Third Squad detectives.

Police later spotted him, and Suarez, who was in a stolen car, tried to flee but hit a marked cruiser and a telephone pole on Union Boulevard, police said.

Detectives from five squads across Suffolk connected him to purse-snatchings in Bay Shore, Central Islip, Deer Park, Commack and Bohemia.

Suarez, of 44 Grove St. in Central Islip, was scheduled for arraignment Sunday on charges including six counts of grand larceny, nine counts of robbery, resisting arrest, unlawful fleeing of a police officer and another count of grand larceny for the stolen car he was driving during the pursuit, police said.

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