Police are searching for a woman accused of snatching another woman’s purse in the middle of Sunday mass.
Investigators say it happened at noon at St. Laurence Church on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby. The alleged victim, who does not want to be identified, told NBC10 she left her purse in the pew when it was stolen.
“I don’t have my purse, my driver’s license,” said the woman. “I don’t have my phone. I don’t have my apartment key.”
Police say the woman’s key to a rental car she’s been driving was also stolen, meaning she may have to pay a few hundred dollars to replace it while her car is in the shop. The woman says she was already down on her luck before the theft since she recently lost her job as a caregiver at a nursing home.
Investigators say the thief went to a nearby Hess Gas Station and McDonald’s in Havertown and ordered $36 worth of fast food on the victim’s debit card.
“She’s a scumbag,” said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. “I mean she fits the profile, purposely to go in to a place and rob and steal and pillage for no reason other than to stuff her face? Give me a break. If our houses of worship are not safe, what is safe?”
Investigators described the suspect as a white female in her 50’s with blond hair.
Annemarie Wallace has been a parishioner at the church for most of her life and helped the victim work with detectives. She told NBC10 the latest incident wasn’t the first purse snatching at St. Laurence and insists it can happen at any church. This week, Old St. Joe’s in Society Hill posted a bulletin notice that a churchgoer had a credit card stolen from her purse. The thief allegedly spent $3000 shopping online. The victim in the alleged St. Laurence theft told NBC10 she is praying for the person who stole from her.
“I don’t want her to do it again to somebody else too,” said the woman.
Upper Darby Police are currently analyzing surveillance video from the McDonald’s to identify the thief.
If you have any information on either theft, call Upper Darby Police or Philadelphia Police.