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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Alert Officer Snatches Purse Snatching Suspect

Officers of the Month
Civilians of the Month
October 8, 2004 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today announced Knoxville Police Officer Donny Sams as the May Officer of the Month. Sams has been with the department since April 1989.

Chief Owen said that on May 12, 2004 at approximately 11:50 a.m., officers responded to a robbery of a purse call in the Kroger parking lot at 5425 Clinton Highway. The suspect's description along with a vehicle description and partial tag number was relayed to other officers in the area. No one was injured in the incident.

Officer SamsAt approximately 12:45 p.m., another robbery of a purse was reported from the parking lot of the Food Lion located on Center Line Drive. This time the suspect dragged the elderly female victim by her purse strap during the commission of the robbery. The victim was not seriously injured. The description of the suspect matched the description of the suspect from the Kroger robbery.

At 12:57 p.m., Officer Donny Sams was servicing his police motorcycle on Western Avenue when he heard the description of the suspect and his vehicle broadcast over the police radio.

While filling up his motorcycle, Officer Sams noticed a vehicle that matched the suspect's traveling west on Western Avenue. Officer Sams quickly jumped on his motorcycle and got behind the possible suspect's vehicle. After confirming this was the correct vehicle, Sams initiated a traffic stop with the suspect.

The suspect, Denzel Dewayne Linear, was in possession of several purses from different robberies including the just stolen purse from the Food Lion. Investigators immediately charged Linear, age 21, with two counts of aggravated robbery.

Chief Owen said, "Officer Sams exhibited a high degree of alertness by paying attention to both the broadcast of the suspects information and to traffic while servicing his motorcycle. Due to his attentiveness, a serious offender who was targeting elderly women in our community was apprehended."

Mayor Haslam said, "Officer Sams is to be commended for his attention to duty and is certainly deserving of this award."

Officer Sams will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and Chief along with a free dinner from Ruby Tuesday Restaurant.
For Immediate Release
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