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Date of Issue: December 13, 2007

Robber grabs purse at Maritime Museum opening

An elderly woman on the steps of the newly renovated 1912 Cortez schoolhouse in Cortez had her purse snatched from her by a brazen robber who sped away in a late-model sports car.

The incident happened at 3:35 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the grand opening of the Maritime Museum, which is housed at the schoolhouse, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez.

Merial Iligoknar, 78, of Cortez, was leaving the museum opening, traversing the steps at the front entry to building. According to the incident report from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, “suspect ran up to the victim and ripped the purse off the shoulder of Iligoknar, nearly knocking her down.”

The purse-snatcher then ran a short distance toward Cortez Road and got into the passenger side of a black car, possibly a Ford Mustang.

The vehicle was last seen heading eastbound on Cortez Road.

Iligoknar was reported to have cash and credit cards in her purse.

Roger Allen of the museum said there were several witnesses, and that one pair tried to follow the robber but couldn’t catch up to the speeding car.

The robber is described as a white male, 25-30 years old, with light-color hair and a muscular build.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the MSCO at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers of Manatee County at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477). 

Callers to the Crime Stoppers tip line will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.