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Man attacks, kidnaps woman in parking lot along Lemay Ferry Road

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - St. Louis County police are asking for the public's help to locate a man accused of attacking a 79-year-old woman and kidnapping her in south county.

Prosecutors charged 53-year-old Robert Cook with first-degree robbery, one count of second-degree assault, and three counts of armed criminal action.

As of Friday afternoon, police said Cook is not yet in custody.

The attack happened September 26, 2017 just after 10:25 a.m. in the 3900 block of Lemay Ferry Road, near the South County Mall.

According to the probable cause statement, the elderly woman was trying to leave the parking lot when Cook stopped her from closing the driver's side door and began punching her. He continued to beat the woman, forcing her to the floorboard of the passenger side of the vehicle. Cook then used a knife to cut the woman and the straps of her purse before driving her to an intersection in St. Louis City where he abandoned her and the car but fled with the woman's purse and cellphone.

Police said the victim identified the suspect in a photo line-up.

Cook was recently released from the Missouri Department of Corrections where he had been sentenced to serve 18 years for a robbery he pleaded guilty to committing in 1999.

Authorities are asking anyone that knows Cook's whereabouts should call the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.