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Upper Darby Police Say Woman Who Lifted Purse From Churchgoer Was Caught On Video

(St. Laurence Church, Upper Darby.  File photo)

(St. Laurence Church, Upper Darby. File photo)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — Police in Upper Darby are hoping surveillance video from a local fast food restaurant will help them find the woman who stole a purse from a parishioner inside a church Sunday afternoon.

Authorities say the victim went up to receive Holy Communion at St. Laurence Roman Catholic Church on West Chester Pike, leaving her purse in the pew.

When she returned, the purse — which contained keys, a debit card, and a cell phone — was gone.

Police say the thief used the debit card to buy gas and then spent $34 at a McDonald’s, where police say there were cameras.

“Witnesses claim that a woman in her 50s, blonde hair, kind of heavy, smelled of alcohol, was looking in the pews during this time and saw the handbag, picked it up, and walked out of the church,” Upper Darby police superintendent Michael Chitwood tells KYW Newsradio.

Chitwood says the people in the church did not recognize the woman. He says there have been no other recent incidents like this in the area, but the church did report a similar theft about a year ago.

Even when going to church, Chitwood says, people need to be vigilant about their belongings.

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