Hill dropped the purse in a garbage can after taking the money out, and tried to thumb a ride to escape, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.
But the 17-year-old picked the wrong getaway car when retired New York state trooper John Coyne picked him up.
Coyne saw police heading toward the supermarket, and when he spotted Hill trying to get a lift in the opposite direction, he became suspicious.
"This fellow Hill looked like he needed to get out of the area in a hurry," said Pasha, the department spokeswoman.
Coyne drove him to a motel, dropped him off and promptly called the police.
Pasha couldn't help thinking a higher power might have helped out.
"It's good to have friends in high places," she joked.
Crime Blotter is a weekly feature of ABCNEWS.com and was compiled by Oliver Libaw.