Broward County

Man Snatches Elderly Woman's Purse During Church Prayer: BSO

Deputies in Broward County are looking for a man who snatched an 84-year-old woman's purse as she prayed in church last Sunday.

"I'm shocked to know she was robbed in church, of all places," said Sheila Bryan, neighbor.

The woman was praying in the back row of Our Lady Queen of Heaven in North Lauderdale when a man walked in and sat on a chair against the back wall, Broward Sheriff's deputies said.

Surveillance video shows the man scanning the room, standing up briefly then zeroing in on the woman as she placed her purse on the chair next to her.

At first, the man appears to leave the church. Just seconds later, he's seen coming back into view, and sliding the woman's purse off the chair before rushing out.

"He backtracks and comes back into the church and slides the purse, ever so slightly, off from the chair right next to her," said Keyla Concepcion with BSO.

The woman attempted to get up and go after the man as he bolted out the door with her purse. 

Her purse was found two days later at a nearby cemetery. The woman's money, wallet and other valuables were missing.

The suspect appears to be a white or Hispanic male with a thin build. He appears to be about 5-feet 9-inches tall with a low haircut. In the surveillance video, he is seen wearing "diamond" stud earrings, jeans and a blue button-up shirt. He appears to be in his early to mid 20s.

"We're hoping that with this very clear image that we have of this man on the surveillance video, someone will help us identify him," Concepcion said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.

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