A 37-year-old Annapolis man was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday for snatching a purse from a woman as she was leaving the rectory of an Annapolis church.
Timothy Austin Blake of the 700 block of Newtowne Drive was sentenced by Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner, who cited Blake's criminal record and the crime's location as reasons for the length of the prison term.
"I can't imagine a safer place, a place that's supposedly safer than a church rectory," Judge Lerner said. "God is there to help people, and here's someone who comes in to get some marriage counseling before getting married, and to be subjected to this kind of harassment is just uncalled for."
Blake, who pleaded guilty yesterday to robbery in the Jan. 21 incident, apologized to the victim, but said that he was high on crack cocaine at the time.
According to police, Blake approached Jennifer Rowland, 26, of Silver Spring from behind as she was leaving the rectory of St. Mary's Church on Duke of Gloucester Street about 8 p.m.
He yanked the purse off her arm and ran toward the city dock, according to court records. Blake was apprehended a few minutes later after officers spotted him hiding under some equipment at the Newman Street playground near the dock, police said.
The victim's purse was found about 2 feet away, and the defendant had $25 the victim said her purse had contained, according to the statement of charges.
Blake has previous convictions for robbery, assault and battery, and breaking and entering, according to court records and city police.
Ms. Rowland said she wasn't hurt in the incident, but she brought to court the coat she was wearing that day.
The coat had been ripped at the pocket, where Ms. Rowland had her hand when Blake pulled the purse off her shoulder.