DETROIT (WWJ) – Police say a 42-year-old woman whose vehicle broke down on I-96 in Detroit suffered a terrifying ordeal when an unknown man tried to rob her, dragging her out of her car on the side of the freeway.

Michigan State Police say they were alerted to the situation around 8:40 p.m. Friday when dispatchers received numerous 911 calls about a domestic assault occurring on westbound I-96 near Joy Road, on the city’s west side.

Troopers arrived on scene and after speaking with the woman, discovered that the incident was actually an attempted robbery.

The woman told police that her car had broken down on the right shoulder of the freeway and she was waiting for a friend to come help her. She had been waiting for about 30 minutes when an unknown male opened her driver’s side door and reached into the vehicle. The man grabbed the woman’s purse, which was lying on the front passenger seat, and tried to pull it out of the vehicle, according to police.

“In a desperate attempt to keep the suspect from stealing her purse, the victim fought with the suspect and was dragged out of the vehicle as she held onto her purse,” police said in a statement. “The suspect told the victim to ‘just give it up,’ but the victim refused to give in to the suspect’s demands.”

During the physical struggle, the woman told the man that she had called police and they were on their way. At that point, police say the suspect stopped struggling with the woman over her purse and fled the scene.

Police say the woman received minor injuries and damage to her clothing, but she was able to hold onto her purse. At no time did the suspect threaten the victim with a weapon, according to police.

Investigators are now trying to identify the suspect, described as a black male in his 30s. He fled the scene in an older model blue vehicle, possibly a Toyota Corolla.

Police are looking to speak with anyone who was on I-96 near Joy Road around 8:30 p.m. Friday and might have seen something. Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 1-855-MICH-TIP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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