JACKSON — A township man may not have been looking for a fight when he snatched a woman's purse at a gas station, but that's what he got Saturday, police said.

The mugging turned more violent when Nicholas Bonaccorso, 30, dragged the fighting victim with his car, police said.

According to police, the woman was at a gas station buying lottery tickets when Bonaccorso came into the store and grabbed her purse. The woman fought the man to keep the purse, resulting in both of them falling to the floor, police said. During the ensuing struggle, the man hit the victim several times in the head and upper body as he attempted to leave the store, according to police.

Before he could get away, the woman was able to pull off his hooded sweatshirt, which police say helped them to identify the suspect. The woman then followed the man out of the store and got into his car in an attempt to get her purse back and prevent the man from leaving. Police say the man pushed the woman out of the car and dragged her through the parking lot before driving away.

Eyewitness accounts of the incident provided police with a partial license plate, and surveillance footage from the store helped officers identify Bonaccorso.

He was found the next night at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Lakewood along with 33-year-old Toms River resident Jennifer Tayse.

Bonaccorso was charged with robbery, assault by auto, simple assault, and theft. According to police, before he was taken into custody Bonaccorso had been reaching out to other people telling them he had robbed someone and needed help. Tayse was taken into custody on a warrant out of Jackson and released pending a court appearance. Bonaccorso was taken to the Ocean County Jail.

The woman was treated at the scene for her injuries. The purse and its contents had a value of more than $200.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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