A Fort Lee supermarket shopper struggled with a homeless career criminal who police said grabbed her purse before speeding off in a stolen car.
Gregory Prior, 52, came up from behind and snatched the purse from a shopping cart full of groceries that the woman was pushing through the parking lot of the ACME on Lemoine Avenue shortly after 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Capt. Matthew Hintze said.
The woman fought off Prior, then got the license plate number of the getaway car, which had been reported stolen out of Jersey City earlier in the morning, Hintze said.
State Police found the car, parked and unoccupied, at the Vince Lombardi Service Area barely a half-hour later, the captain said.
Prior, who'd been living at the homeless shelter in Hackensack, was arrested soon after, he said.
Prior has a drug-related criminal history that stretches back decades -- with dozens of arrests and convictions for crime including burglary, theft, assaulting police and weapons possession, records show.
He spent five years in state prison for a string of Bergen County burglaries and thefts committed while he was on parole for a pair of 1999 crime sprees.
In one incident, he snatched a purse at a Teaneck restaurant, took off in a stolen BMW and sped across the George Washington Bridge into New York City, where he was chased down on Riverside Drive after crashing at 168th Street.
A few years ago, Hasbrouck Heights police said he hid overnight in a Dumpster behind a Route 17 hotel after snatching a woman's purse from a shopping car outside the Rochelle Park Shop Rite, stealing two cars in one day and leading officers on a chase.
ALSO SEE: Investigators were waiting when a Massachusetts man got off a bus in Fort Lee carrying more than a pound and a little over an ounce of heroin, authorities said.
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