By Bill Cantwell
---- — HAVERHILL — Police are asking the public’s help identifying a man who tried to grab a woman’s purse outside a supermarket and pulled a switchblade knife when she resisted.
An identifying mark is a tattoo on his left hand of a skull with what appears to be wings, according to a police report.
The knife incident happened about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the Market Basket in Central Plaza, police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said.
A woman in her 40s was walking from the store to her car when she felt someone tug on her purse, which was on her shoulder, according to a police report.
She turned around and confronted the would-be robber and saw it was a man, who then pulled out the knife and threatened her with it, the report said.
The woman then let him take the purse and he ran toward nearby Bethany Avenue, the report said.
Police said the woman gave this description of the man: He was light-skinned with scruffy hair on his chin, of average height, and wearing blue jeans and a gray hoodie. He had the tattoo showing a skull that appeared to have wings, she told police.
“The poor woman was just walking to her car when she was approached,’’ Thompson said. “She felt someone grab her purse. Then the person pulled a switchblade knife.’’
Thompson said police are checking surveillance cameras both inside and outside the store for an image of the man.
He also asked anyone who might have seen something unusual in the area to contact police.
“If the pubic saw anyone hanging around who looked suspicious, we’d like to know about it,’’ he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 978-373-1212.