QUEENS — A career criminal who allegedly struck a cop with a stolen truck last month during a wild scene in Astoria recently snatched a purse from a woman in Rego Park and is believed to be behind several similar incidents in the area, police sources said Thursday.
The man, identified as Gary Sarback, 61, of Lake Worth, Fla., was seen in the Rego Park area last week and allegedly stole a purse from a woman who was walking on Saunders Street, sources said.
He was also believed to be linked to other purse snatchings in Queens, according to the sources, including an incident on Aug. 22.
On that day, at 4:18 p.m. Sarback, who has more than three dozen prior arrests dating back to 1969, including robbery and burglary, allegedly snatched a purse from a 49-year-old woman who was walking on 79th Street in East Elmhurst.
The woman told the cops that the man got out a black Ford pickup and stole her pocketbook. The victim then chased the man to the truck and was dragged by the moving vehicle, cops said. She suffered minor injuries and refused medical aid at the scene, cops said.
After checking the license plate of the vehicle, cops said the Ford was reported stolen two day earlier from West Palm Beach in Florida. A .38 caliber revolver was in the car when it was stolen, police said.
Also on Aug. 22, at 8:50 p.m., cops said, two officers tried to pull over the pickup Sarback was driving on Crescent Street, near Broadway, in Astoria, when he struck one of them with his truck. After that, according to published reports, officers opened fire on the truck while it was speeding away.
Both officers were taken to New York Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They were treated and released, cops said.
Police said Sarback later abandoned the truck at 37th Street and 24th Avenue and fled on foot. Cops searched the area and found a cellphone that identified the suspect.
Police shut down the Queensboro Bridge for about 30 minutes to prevent Sarback from leaving Queens, according to published reports. But he has not yet been apprehended.
Anyone with information about Sarback's whereabouts is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.