Three teenagers are being held on charges that they robbed a woman at gunpoint Wednesday night in the parking lot of Northpark Mall in Joplin.
A 60-year-old Webb City resident was getting out of her vehicle about 7:50 p.m. on the southeast side of the mall at 101 N. Range Line Road when a young man came up behind her and demanded her purse. He showed her a gun, and she handed over the purse.
The gunman climbed in a blue pickup truck and left the area.
A Jasper County sheriff’s deputy later stopped a vehicle fitting that description at Seventh and Oronogo streets in Webb City, and arrested its three occupants.
Charged with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action were Trevor M. Seigrist, 19, of rural Joplin; Brock A. Buffington, 17, of Joplin; and Zachary T. Jones, 17, of rural Joplin. All three remained in custody Thursday at the Joplin City Jail on $15,000 bonds.
Police Lt. Matt Stewart said Seigrist is believed to have been the one who approached the victim in the parking lot. The woman’s purse was recovered from the suspects’ vehicle, he said. A gun was not.
“(Officers) think they tossed it somewhere,” Stewart said.
Investigators were searching for the gun. Stewart was uncertain if they had found the weapon by late Thursday afternoon.
The victim escaped injury. Stewart said she made a wise choice surrendering her purse. Personal property is never worth risking one’s life to retain when face-to-face with an armed robber, he said.
He advised that mall shoppers maintain awareness of their surroundings while coming and going to their vehicles during the holiday season. He also advised that they park as close as possible to the entrance they plan to use and in well-lighted spots.
BEFORE WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S ROBBERY, the last time a holiday shopper was mugged in the parking lot of Northpark Mall was Dec. 18, 2011, when a 72-year-old woman was injured in the course of her purse being snatched by a pair of female culprits.