HOLMBERG: Woman robbed of dentures: ‘A fatal attraction thing’

Posted at 1:06 AM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 13:51:42-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- People in Richmond have been robbed of many things -- their money, their cars, their jewelry, their shoes, their lives.

But a robbery in South Richmond Tuesday night may have broken new ground.

Richmond police Capt. Roger Russell explained that a woman’s dentures were pulled out of her mouth and taken by a man she knew during an altercation in the 1400 block of Bainbridge Street in South Richmond.

He said investigators were told by those who heard the altercation that the suspect shouted that “he had paid for them and was taking them back.”

The victim told me it was “a fatal attraction thing” that led to her dentures being wrestled out of her mouth by a former suitor who had paid for them.

CBS 6 spoke with her Wednesday afternoon in the apartment hallway where her dentures were taken, the screams and shouts heard by her neighbors.

She didn’t want to show her whole face during the interview because she’s upset and self-conscious about being seen without her false teeth. The real teeth were badly loosened during a bad car crash that left her face scarred. She eventually  lost her teeth.

She said that sensitivity was something used by the suspect in the case – a former neighbor who became very attracted to her.

“I hadn’t been able to afford dentures,” she explained. “He says to me, ‘you’re a pretty girl but I can see you’re self-conscious about your teeth.’”

“Well, of course I did.”

“And he said, ‘I want to surprise you,’” she added. That former neighbor took her to Affordable Dentures early one morning and after a long day there, she had her dentures.

She said the man wasn’t her lover, but her friend. A man who looked out for her, admired her, she believed. She said she needed a friend, and smile.

But, she said, he wanted more. His calls and appearances at her door eventually became too much, she said, and she warned him off.

He was waiting outside of her apartment Tuesday evening as she walked out to do her laundry, she said, describing how he grabbed her behind her neck and forced the dentures out of her mouth.

It’s likely dentures have been taken before during burglaries or auto thefts. But to drag them forcibly out of someone’s mouth and take them?

Russell, who will have been on the police force 30 years this summer, said it’s the first denture robbery he’s seen. He said the victim could’ve  been hurt during the attack and they’re taking the crime seriously.

RPD tweeted Thursday at 10:45 a.m. that officers had located Linwood Harris -- and the stolen dentures -- in the 1400 block of Bainbridge Street in South Richmond.

Richmond police told CBS 6 that a detective had returned the dentures to the victim.

There has been no word yet on what charges Harris is facing.

Court records show Harris was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 1992 in Richmond Circuit Court and was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

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