The Investigators

Aug 5, 2014 1:10 AM by Matthew Schwartz

N4T Investigators: Catch and release?

TUCSON - She's a 70-year old woman who is afraid to be identified because the people who robbed her may know where she lives. Her purse was stolen in broad daylight last month from her shopping cart outside Fry's at Speedway and Pantano, while she was putting groceries in her car.

"I am shaken up, I cannot sleep," she told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. "I re-play it in my mind, over and over again, what happened. I'm angry."

The thief got her social security card, driver's license and credit cards. "I feel that they know everything about my life and I'm in danger for the rest of my life now."

She is outraged that the prime suspect is walking the streets. And she could've been seriously hurt because the get-away car nearly ran over her. An eyewitness snapped a photo of the license plate.

The next day, Tucson Police arrested the woman they say is the purse-snatcher. Court records show 23-year-old Kristen Brown was charged not only with this theft, but another purse snatching a month earlier in the parking lot of the Fry's on E. 22nd near Kolb.

Police say Brown is a suspect in two more recent purse-snatchings, for a total of four: One at another Fry's, another in a Safeway parking lot. They say her boyfriend is suspected of being the get-away driver in at least one case.

Tucson Police Sgt. Chris Widmer told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "This was basically people with drug addictions who needed money to support their habit."

But there's more: Court records show that Kristen Brown has been charged with at least four crimes in the past five months:

In March she was charged with criminal damage. That case is still pending.

In June she was found guilty of committing a lewd and lascivious act. She was ordered to pay fines and court fees totaling $395.00.

In July, she was charged with the two thefts outside Fry's.

On July 25, City Court Judge Susan Shetter released Brown on her own bond required.

"The alleged victim said, "She was released within hours, before the reports were even done. I think the justice system has a lot to answer for."

The TPD spokesman, Sgt. Widmer said, "I would call it concerning, someone that's out committing crimes like this, multiple crimes, is back on our streets."

We called Judge Shetter numerous times to try to find out why Kristen Brown was released on her own recognizance while she's charged in two recent thefts and is a suspect in two others. The judge has not returned our calls.

The alleged victim told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "The police work so hard to catch those people and get them out of the street, puts them in jail, and within hours they're out again."

Kristen Brown is charged with misdemeanors, and the Pima County jail is overcrowded. But the alleged victim is worried that if there's another purse-snatching, someone could get seriously hurt. Even killed.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at Or call our tip line, at 520-955-4444.


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