A District man described in court as a professional robber has been convicted of snatching the purses of 13 women in one month last year as the women walked alone in residential neighborhoods.
James Herbert Neal, 28, was convicted Monday of 13 counts of robbery, including five counts of the more serious felony of robbing a senior citizen, by a D.C. Superior Court jury that heard testimony from the victims describing the attacks that occurred between Nov. 19 and Dec. 16 in different neighborhoods in Northeast and Northwest.
The women, from 19 to 76 years of age, told the jury that the attacks usually occurred during the day as they were walking alone on deserted streets.
Their assailant, they said, drove up and jumped out of his car and often tried to distract them by asking a question before stealing their purses.
Two of the women said they were attacked and lost consciousness in the struggle for their purses.
In asking the jury to convict Neal of all 13 counts, prosecutor Debra Long-Doyle said Neal's "profession was robbery" and that his modus operandi was to "viciously prey upon lone females."
Neal, who also was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, is being held without bond at the D.C. Jail.
He could be sentenced by Judge Robert A. Shuker, the presiding trial judge, to a prison term of up to 242 1/2 years.