Woman charged in S. End purse snatching; police eye similarities to previous assault

A Boston woman pleaded not guilty to charges she was among a group of four people who stole a woman’s bag and smartphone Wednesday night in the South End, police said.

Yvette Ruiz, 18, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, said Suffolk district attorney’s spokesman Jake Wark. She faces charges of unarmed robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon, Boston police said in a statement. Bail was set at $500, Wark said.

Ruiz was one of a group of four – two male, two female – who robbed and assaulted the female victim around 10:15 p.m. that night, police said.

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Police are probing whether the alleged robbery was connected to a similar incident that occurred on Huntington Avenue near Northeastern University earlier this week, in which a group attempted to rob a woman of her purse and assaulted her.

“It’s too early at this point to say it’s related,” said Officer Eddy Chrispin, a Boston police spokesman. “I think based on the similarity of the incidents, detectives will further investigate.”

While the victim was walking on West Concord Street toward Shawmut Avenue, one of the male suspects crossed the street and attempted to grab her from behind, the victim told police.

At the same time, the other male suspect took her bag, while the two women took her iPhone, police said.

The victim was allegedly assaulted after falling to the ground during the scuffle.

Soon after, officers saw two women walking on West Concord Street who matched the description of the suspects in the incident. Ruiz was the only suspect positively identified by the victim. No one else has been arrested in the case.

Officers found a folding knife on Ruiz during the booking process, police said. She is expected to return to court Feb. 9.

The incident is under investigation.

Ruiz’s attorney, Neil Madden, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.