By Todd Quinones
UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) – The 53-year-old victim recently lost her job, and she went to church to pray.
She wound up being preyed upon.
During Mass, the woman walked up to take communion at St. Laurence Parish.
As always, she left her purse in the pew. That’s when police say another woman grabbed it and headed out the door.
The victim, who is from East Africa, didn’t want to be identified.
“This is church and why it happened, something like that, it shocked me,” she said.
“This predator is what she really is because she knew what she was doing and she wasn’t there to pray, she was there to steal,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
Chitwood says the woman and a male accomplice used the victim’s debit card and ran up $22 worth of gas at a Hess station, then headed up the West Chester Pike to McDonalds’s.
While there, they racked up another bill of more than $36 by purchasing Frappes, Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, but apparently she got scared when asked to sign the receipt.
“She took off at a high rate of speed and left the food and left the debit card behind,” Chitwood said.
Annemarie Wallace, whose husband is a deacon at the church, says the suspect, described as a white blonde woman in her 50’s, smelled of alcohol at the noon Mass on Sunday.
“From criminal or criminal minds or acts, you would think you would be safe in church,” Wallace said.
The victim can’t believe her purse was stolen as she took communion.
“It happened to me. It is okay this happened. I don’t want it to happen again to somebody else too,” she said.
Police are hoping surveillance cameras at the McDonald’s captured the suspects on video.