PORTLAND — Portland police are investigating an unusual spate of street robberies targeting women Thursday night and early this morning.

Police said today that at 3:15 this morning, a man flagged down a passing motorist on Clark Street and when the 38-year-old Portland woman stopped, the man grabbed her purse from the car.

The man ran through Reiche School property. An officer dispatched to the area spotted a man matching the description on Dow Street and approached him, but the man dropped the stolen pocketbook and ran away.

Police said the man is described as a black man in his early 20s, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-9, with hair on his chin  and an afro.

Earlier, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a woman was walking on Mellen Street when she was grabbed from behind, punched in the stomach and had money stolen from her front pocket, she said. The woman described her attacker as a 5-foot-8 black man, with hair below his lip and a shaved head.

A third robbery happened at 10:45 p.m. on Portland Street when a man ran up behind a woman and grabbed the purse she was carrying over her shoulder. The man ran to a waiting silver and black car, then dropped the purse after taking out a wallet, police said.

The woman described the man as having a somewhat dark complexion, perhaps southern European, with wavy black hair, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 874-8533.

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