LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man accused of targeting older Asian women and stealing their purses in a robbery spree told police that he chose his victims because they were “easy targets,” police documents said.
On Tuesday, June 27, officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were called to the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino after a reported robbery.
The victim, an Asian woman, told police that she was in the parking garage walking to her car when a man “approached her from behind.” She told police that he grabbed her purse and attempted to take it from her.
According to the report, the victim told police that she tried to hold onto her purse and the man punched her on the head and threw her to the ground. She told police that he punched her three to four more times while she was on the ground before he ran away.
A surveillance video shows a man wearing bright red shoes and a multi-color hoodie running from the scene, the report said.
The report stated that the man took a Gucci purse, a Louis Vuitton purse, $1000 cash, two credit cards, and a driver’s license in this incident. According to the report, none of these items were recovered as of Wednesday.
On Saturday, July 1, police were called back to the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino after a report of larceny. The victim, also an Asian woman, told police that she was in the casino with her friends but decided to go outside for fresh air, according to the report.
The report stated that she was sitting on a bench in front of the casino when a man pulled her purse from her, breaking the purse, and causing her to fall to the ground. The man then ran away with the purse.
Surveillance video shows a Black man wearing a black sweatsuit and bright red shoes running from the victim. This man appeared to be the same suspect as the June 27 robbery.
According to the report, items stolen included a Fendi Purse, three bank cards, around $5,000 in cash, a room hotel key, and a driver’s license. The victim told police that she immediately froze her cards. The report stated that none of the items had been recovered.
On Monday, July 3, a woman came into the Enterprise area command to tell police that a man had stolen her purse on Thursday, June 29. The woman told police that she was walking near the intersection of Viking and Wynn roads when a man pulled her purse away from her, breaking the strap, before he ran away.
According to the report, the victim told police that she had told her coworkers at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino about the theft and was told that a similar incident had occurred.
The report stated that there were no surveillance cameras in the area. Items taken included the purse, a driver’s license, the victim’s wallet, $40 in cash, an insurance card, and a cell phone. The report stated that none of the items had been recovered.
On Wednesday, July 12, LVMPD officers were called to another robbery at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. The victim told police that she had been outside the casino, waiting to cross the street when a man walked up to her and grabbed her purse, causing the victim to fall.
The report stated that the man then took off running and the victim could not run after him because her leg had been hurt when he forced the purse away from her. Items taken included a black purse and a cell phone, according to the report.
None of the items had been recovered, the report said.
On Thursday, July 20, police were called again to the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino after a report of a robbery. The victim told police that she was walking out of the parking garage when a man approached her, grabbed her purse, pushed her down, and ran away.
Surveillance video showed a man that matched the description of the suspect in the earlier robberies near that location.
The report stated that the incident occurred too quickly for the victim to “get a good look” at the suspect. Items stolen included a blue purse, bank cards, insurance cards, a cell phone, a driver’s license, and Apple Air Pods. A person at a nearby residence told police that he had found the purse, phone, and air pods in his trash can, the report stated.
On Sunday, July 23, Metro received an email from a Gold Coast Hotel and Casino security officer that another robbery had occurred across the street from their property. A security officer had seen a man “snatch” a purse from an Asian woman. No official LVMPD report was filed for this incident.
Detectives were able to identify the suspect in all of these incidents as Jephery Steward, 25. Steward was taken into custody on Wednesday, July 26.
According to the report, Steward told police that he was “having trouble making ends meet” and that he had two young children and a fiancee. He told police that he committed several robberies on older Asian women because they were “easy targets.”
The report stated that Steward confessed to four separate robberies and wrote a letter for the victims “apologizing for his actions,” explaining that he only committed the robberies in order to help his family.
Steward faces four counts of robbery with a victim over 60 and one count of larceny from a person. He is being held on a $75,000 bail. His preliminary court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 15.