Suspect arrested after armed robbery in Matthews shopping center

Armed robbery in Harris Teeter parking lot

MATTHEWS, N.C. (WBTV) - A woman has been arrested and charged with robbing a victim in the parking lot in front of a Harris Teeter in Matthews.

The incident reportedly occurred on Friday afternoon and involved the suspect approaching a female victim as she was entering her vehicle. The suspect brandished a knife and cut the purse from the victim’s shoulder before getting into and driving off with her vehicle as well.

She headed towards E. Independence Blvd and led CMPD officers on a pursuit until she jumped out of the car and tried to run away.

40-year-old Melissa Elaine Stutts was arrested near where the victim’s vehicle was found around McAlway Road and Craig Avenue.

Stutts has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of an open container, driving with a revoked license and eluding arrest with a motor vehicle.

Shoppers learned from this crime that it can happen when you least expect it.

“I carry my purse under my arm because I know people are gonna be able to do that,” another shopper said.

With the holidays around the corner, Matthews Township Shopping Center is only going to get busier.

“I’m out here at least every other day and now it makes me wonder if I want to come out here again, or if I do I won’t be alone,” Cynthia Ivey said.

Police want people to pay closer attention to their surroundings.

“Scan around and make sure no ones standing around looking suspicious,” Matthews Police Department Public Information Officer Tim Aycock said.

He suggests staying off your phone and pulling your keys out before you leave the store.

“Usually if it doesn’t feel right to you it’s probably not right go with your gut instinct is really a good thing to live by,” he said.

This is not Stutt’s first brush with the law. She was arrested on Christmas Eve last year for attempting to steal.

She is due in court Tuesday.

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