Crime & Courts

40-year-old woman wielded a knife in Harris Teeter carjacking and assault, cops say

A Charlotte woman is accused of cutting someone with a knife outside a Harris Teeter in Matthews on Friday and driving away in the victim’s car, police said.

The victim told officers she was entering her car just before 1 p.m. when a woman with a knife approached “and stole her purse by cutting it off at the strap,” according to a Matthews Police Department news release.

The victim was later treated at a hospital for knife wounds that police described as non-life threatening.

The carjacker drove the victim’s car toward East Independence Boulevard from the Harris Teeter at 1811 Matthews Township Parkway, police said.

Police immediately alerted surrounding law enforcement agencies, and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police helicopter soon spotted the vehicle in Charlotte.

CMPD officers arrested a suspect near McAlway Road and Craig Avenue, off North Wendover Road just north of the Cotswold neighborhood.

Melissa Elaine Stutts, 40, was charged with armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle theft, with other charges pending, Matthews Police said.

In the news release, Matthews Police thanked CMPD for its help, “as well as their continued partnership in striving to keep our communities safe.”

Police urged the public to follow these safety measures in parking lots:

Stay off your cell phone “so that your attention is not divided.”

After pulling into a parking space but before leaving your car, scan the area for suspicious people. Do so again when returning to your car.

At night, park in a well lit area.

Hold your keys when returning to your car. “You do not want to spend time standing at your car looking for them,” police said in the release.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.