Mom faces unlawful flight, theft and endangerment charges after Mesa pursuit

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- A Peoria woman accused of trying to steal a purse and leading authorities on a high-speed chase was charged with a felony count of unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle.

Stephanie Carol Evans, 36, also was charged with misdemeanor theft, endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mesa police said Evans took a woman's purse out of a shopping cart at a Wal-Mart store near Southern Avenue and Power Road Friday night. Evans allegedly hid the victim's purse with her own red bag and began to leave, but the victim grabbed Evans and forcefully took her purse back, according to court records.

Evans' 12-year-old son was with her and police said it appeared that he acted as a distraction.

Evans and her son fled the store in a red pickup truck. Arizona Department of Public Safety officers spotted the truck on Loop 202 near McKellips Road and a high-speed pursuit ensued.

The truck reportedly reached about 120 mph before the chase ended at the Target store near U.S. 60 and Power Road. Evans and her son ran inside the store where they were taken into custody.

Evans told police that she did not steal the purse, according to court documents. She said she did not see the victim and was going to take the purse to customer service.

Evans said she fled from police because she was scared, according to court records.

The boy was released to his father.

At the time of her arrest, Evans had two bench warrants for failure to appear and is being held without bond on the new charges.

She has a preliminary hearing on June 10.

Alleged purse-snatcher arrested after high-speed chase with son in car