A confirmed crack addict, the 46-year-old Fitzgerald used a knife to cut the strap of a woman's purse and ran with in down 36th Street before he was caught by a bystander on July 3, 1995. It was the latest in a string of crimes that included felonies and misdemeanors, prompting a probation officer to discount any possibility that Fitzgerald--an unemployed transient--would ever change his ways. The officer said Fitzgerald was "unsuitable" for probation because of his history of offenses, and he recommended that the defendant be excluded from any work furlough program, the report shows.
In September 1995, Fitzgerald was sentenced to a year in County Jail for grand theft, a charge that was reduced from second-degree robbery with a knife, records show. He was put on work release and, less than two months later, he disappeared.