AUSTIN (KXAN) - The man suspected of knocking down an 84-year-old woman after snatching her purse in an attack captured on surveillance video was arrested Wednesday.
Willie James Sauls, 36, was taken into custody after police received several tips from neighbors and family members.
Anna Warren was entering the Sears at Hancock Center the morning of Sept. 19 to buy laundry detergent that was on sale when an attacker pummeled her to the ground. She is still undergoing therapy for the injuries she suffered.
The store video shows a man holding the door of the store open for Warren. He then grabbed her purse and knocked her down.
The video, which was released Sept. 26, resulted in two phone calls to the Crime Stoppers Tip Line identifying a "man named William" who lived in the Red Oaks Apartments at 6301 Berkman Drive and lives "next door to Apartment 204."
Both calls stated that the suspect lived with a woman named "Taz" or "Taseree." One of the callers said they had been told by a third party that Sauls admitted to being responsible for "snatching a purse from an old woman in Austin, Texas."
Austin police said there are no other robberies currently being investigated by the Robbery Unit that fit this description.
With the information from Crime Stoppers, Tanzanika Fields was at Apartment 205 at the Red Oaks Apartments. Police discovered that a man fitting the description of Sauls was living with Fields, and said that he closely resembled the person observed in the video.
Police said that the 84-year-old woman's debit card was used at a Shell convenience store located near Saul's apartment 12 minutes after the robbery occurred.
During the course of the investigation, police spoke with Sauls' ex-wife, who said that she immediately recognized the man based upon the still photos and mannerisms displayed in the surveillance video.
The ex-wife confirmed that Sauls had multiple tattoos on his arms, fitting descriptions given by Sears employees. She also said that the Shell convenience store where the victim's debit card was used was the same store that Sauls frequented for beer and cigarettes.
Police also interviewed former girlfriend of Sauls' brother. According to the arrest warrant, she said, "I immediately knew it was Willie," after seeing the surveillance video on a local news station.
She told police that another of Sauls' brothers drove a white SUV, similar to the one identified as the vehicle that fled that scene of the robbery.
Sauls has been charged with aggravated robbery and remains in the Travis County jail.
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