Purse snatcher gets 26 to 64 years

Reuben McDowell, 59, of Williamsport, was sentenced to 26 to 64 years in state prison for multiple charges including burglary, robbery and stalking in Lycoming County Court on Wednesday.

After a three-day trial in March, McDowell was found guilty of stealing purses from multiple victims, sometimes even following them into their homes.

In one instance, he followed an 86-year-old woman to her home, knocked to her to the floor and muffled her mouth with his hand to “stop her from screaming,” according to McDowell’s interview with police, which was shown during his trial.

“The elderly citizens of Lycoming County deserve to be able to go about their daily lives without fear of a predator following them, waiting for an opportunity to rob them,” said Melissa Kalaus, prosecuting attorney.

According to the district attorney’s office, McDowell has expressed no remorse for his crimes or for his victims.

“By sentencing Mr. McDowell to such a lengthy sentence, we have sent a clear message to those who would prey upon the elderly and the vulnerable,” Kalaus said. “Justice has been done for these victims, and we are all safer, because this predator has been removed from the streets.”

McDowell was sentenced in front of Judge Marc F. Lovecchio.

His other charges included criminal trespassing, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.