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Racine police say three women were robbed at gunpoint of their purses late on Christmas night, and the same man is responsible for all three crimes.

Melvin Powell, 44, of Racine, was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court in two separate cases; 4Melvin Powell, armed robbery
counts of armed robbery with use of force, nine total counts of felony bail jumping, and single counts each of possession with the intent to deliver narcotics and violating a restraining order. If convicted of all charges in both cases, he faces the rest of his life in prison and/or up to $550,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaints against him, a woman on Dec. 20 with a restraining order in effect called police to report that Powell called her and invited her to “hang out and make some money.” He was already out on bond on three separate felony cases from earlier this fall and ordered to not commit any additional criminal acts as well as to not contact the woman for any reason.

Police say two women on Christmas night were leaving Ruby’s Bar, 2515 Douglas Avenue, and were already in their car when a man later identified as Powell got in the back seat and brandished a handgun. He threatened to shoot the women if they didn’t do as he told them so they drove to the 2100 block of Charles Street as instructed and handed over their purses before Powell exited the vehicle and fled the area.

Another woman reported to police that she was walked to Ruby’s when someone grabbed her purse from behind, the complaint reads. When she turned around, the man – also later identified as Powell – struck her in the face several times with a gun. The woman didn’t immediately release her purse, and Powell dragged her several feet across the parking lot before finally getting the woman’s purse and running away.

When officers executed a search warrant at Powell’s residence and found two bottles of medication; one containing Adderall and the other Duloxetine Hydrochloride. Police say that Powell told them he got the pills from another man who also lives in the house, but one of the women who was robbed told officers that she’d just filled her prescriptions for those medications.

Powell remains in the Racine County Jail on a combined $55,000 cash bond for both cases. He will next be in court Jan. 7 for his preliminary hearings on all the charges against him.