Apology, returning money keeps Oakland Co. purse thief out of jail

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Independence Township — A heavy purse may make a light heart, but it turns out telling the truth gets a big weight off your chest and keep you out of jail.

A woman accused of taking an 80-year-old Chicago woman's purse at 3:45 p.m. Sunday at a grocery store came clean and the victim declined to press charges, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said.

Police said this woman took another woman's purse Sunday at a Kroger grocery store in Independence Township. She returned $100 she took from the purse, they also said.

The plucking of the purse strings happened at the Kroger store at 5990 Sashabaw near Maybee Road in Independence Township, according to authorities.

Police said the victim was shopping with her daughter, who she is staying with in Springfield Township. After they finished, the woman put her purse on a window ledge in the store's vestibule, waited for her daughter and then took their groceries to their car.

Minutes later, the woman realized she forgot her purse. Her daughter went to retrieve it, but found it was gone.

Deputies reviewed footage from the store's security system, which showed a woman entering the store, look at the purse and grab it. Video also showed the same woman enter the store's restroom with the bag and then leave minutes later without it.

Deputies found the purse in the bathroom, minus $100, officials said.

As part of the investigation, deputies released images of the woman to the media and sought tips from the public.

On Wednesday, the woman in the video met with a detective from the Sheriff's Office. The 63-year-old Independence Township woman admitted to taking the purse and initially said she left it at the store's customer service desk, authorities said. She later said she left the purse in the restroom and confessed to taking $100 from it.

The woman told the investigator that she was convicted of retail fraud in Troy in 2019 and was arrested for retail fraud 25 years ago.

She also provided a written apology and returned the $100, officials said.

After her money was returned and deputies gave the victim the woman's note, she declined to press charges.

“She didn’t want to press charges and simply wanted to move on after the culprit apologized and returned the stolen money," Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. "While I am saddened this individual won’t face full responsibility for her intentional act, I appreciate the public‘s attention which I am sure is why the perpetrator decided to turn herself in."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez