VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police are searching for a man and woman in connection with a robbery that led to a wild pursuit.
Shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, Virginia Beach Police were called to the WalMart parking lot on Phoenix Drive for a robbery report.
The victim, Nicole Loftus, told 10 On Your Side she was returning her shopping cart when she observed a stranger opening her car door.
“My purse was on the floorboard [of the driver’s seat],” Loftus said. “She just went right in, grabbed my purse.”
Loftus said she shouted out at the woman and chased after her. The suspect bolted into a nearby pick-up truck. A man was behind the wheel.
“I got a hold of her jacket, the truck continued to drive, dragging me. Holding on to her, she punched me, she kicked me, eventually I had to let go, they were going too fast.”
Soon after, police spotted the pick-up truck, described as a dirty, lifted, newer model maroon Ford F250 truck with large tires and body damage with Virginia license plate VRB-5677.
A K-9 unit tried to stop the vehicle near Holland Road and Lynnhaven Parkway, but the driver refused. The officer pursued the truck into the Green Run neighborhood. Police said the suspect struck two occupied vehicles, including the K-9 officer’s.
The suspect then fled towards South Independence. 10 On Your Side spoke to two witnesses, who were stopped there at the intersection with Princess Anne Road.
The light had just turned green and John Cotthaus was preparing to turn.
“Corner of my eye, I saw a big truck barreling through the intersection,” John Cotthaus said. “I got really shaken. If I would have went through, the car would have been done.”
Chilita Galloway was also preparing to turn but fortunately stayed put.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, he just ran a red light, what the heck is going on?’ And then the cops right behind, and then it occurs to you, holy crap, this is a pursuit.”
Galloway had a second encounter with the suspect, minutes later, near the intersection of Princess Anne and Dam Neck.
“I stop and then boom, it’s that same truck that I saw, coming in my direction,” she said. “I think this is the closest to near death experience I’ve ever had.”
According to police, nearby schools went on temporary lockdown as a precaution.
The pursuit was eventually called off, for the sake of public safety.
Loftus had minor injuries but no one else was hurt, according to police.
Many hope the suspects will be taken into custody.
“He can’t hide for too long,” Cotthaus said. “He was pretty reckless and hopefully gets what’s coming to him.”
Loftus hopes her purse will be recovered. She told 10 On Your Side that her wedding rings were inside.
“My husband, we’ve been married for 14 years, but these were new ones he had gotten me, nice ones,” she said. “When we got married, we were young and they weren’t nice but these were new, and they were beautiful, and meant a lot, and… gone.”
The driver of the suspect’s vehicle is described as a white male, possibly in his 20s – 30s, with light brown/blond longer hair. The suspect passenger is described as a white female, possibly in her 20s, with brown hair.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to call Virginia Beach Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.