Local doctor, 66, hospitalized after she was robbed in downtown Charleston
A local doctor remained hospitalized Thursday after she was robbed earlier this week near the busy King Street shopping and dining corridor in downtown Charleston.
The physician, 66, was returning to her car in a George Street parking lot after eating out with loved ones Tuesday night when a man knocked her down and ran away with her purse, according to an incident report.
She suffered head and shoulder injuries when she hit the pavement.
Witnesses followed her fleeing attacker, who was found by Charleston Police Department officers near the S.C. Aquarium.
Timothy Lamar Townsend, a 51-year-old felon, was arrested on charges of strong-arm robbery and first-degree assault and battery. The resident of Martha Drive in North Charleston was being held Thursday in Charleston County's jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.
The woman was still at Roper Hospital, but she was in good condition, hospital spokesman Andy Lyons said. Her office has been closed since the incident, patients reported.
Townsend has a criminal history that dates to 1980. Since then, he has served prison time for some of his more than 30 convictions.
His rap sheet, provided by the State Law Enforcement Division, depicts a violent past of aggravated assault, assault with a concealed weapon and burglary. More than 15 of his convictions are for robbery.
Four days before his latest arrest, he was jailed and released hours later on a charge of drinking alcohol while using public transportation.
On Tuesday night, the doctor, her boyfriend and two of her nieces ate dinner together at Fire Street Food on King Street, according to the incident report.
The group did some window shopping after the meal, then walked back to her car just before 11 p.m. The vehicle was parked in an open-air lot at 31 George St. The site between King and Meeting streets is a block from the College of Charleston campus.
As the others climbed inside, the woman was standing behind the car when they heard footsteps of someone running toward them, the report stated.
A man crashed into her with enough force to make her fall, the witnesses told the police. He grabbed her Vera Bradley bag and ran away, they said.
Responding to 911 calls, police officers found the victim face down on the pavement. Her head was bleeding, and she thought her shoulder was broken, the report stated.
Two men riding by on bicycles told the police that they heard the group's cries for help. One stopped, and the other followed a possible suspect running along George Street.
The bicyclist trailed the man past Buist Academy and down Calhoun Street. He lost sight of him near East Bay Street.
But two officers soon found Townsend at Charlotte and Washington streets, about a block west of the aquarium.
On Washington Street, the officers came across several items stolen during the robbery. The doctor's wallet and keys, along with a gray baseball cap, also were found closer to the scene.
All $437 worth of stolen items were recovered, the police reported.
They also said that the witnesses identified Townsend as the man who had robbed the woman.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.