Several crimes that have targeted female senior citizens in Chester County have rankled police, who fear more victims will be hit and are seeking the public's help to identify the suspects.
"It's vile," said Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department Det. Bob Balchunis. "Many of these people are on fixed incomes."
Detectives gave this account:
On March 5, a 67-year-old woman was grocery shopping in the Dilworthtown Crossing Shopping Center about 3:30 p.m. As she reached up to get an item from a frozen-food case, a thin, black male wearing a black jacket and grey shirt attempted to take an item from the same freezer and struck up a conversation with her.
Later, when the woman finished her shopping and got to the cash register, she realized her wallet, which had contained $500 cash and credit cards, was missing.
The grocery store's surveillance video showed that as the man was distracting the woman, a black woman wearing a black jacket and black scarf or hood walked over to the victim's shopping cart, which contained her purse, and grabbed the wallet.
During the same time frame, the surveillance video also showed two other black women - one wearing an Adidas-style jacket with stripes on the sleeves and the other wearing a dark jacket, yellow shirt and dark belt - attempting to use a credit card at the front of the store that had been stolen from another elderly woman. The second victim had not yet realized the theft.
The four suspects left in the same vehicle and went to a nearby convenience store, where surveillance video showed three of the suspects using the victims' credit cards. They were also used at an area drug store. Bank records showed that the suspects were able to purchase at least $400 in gift cards.
Anyone who recognizes the subjects in the photos is urged to contact Westtown-East Goshen Det. Bob Balchunis at 610-692-9600, ext. 212.
Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.