Woman steals purses at 2 Albuquerque churches during holiday season


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A woman stole purses at two busy Albuquerque churches during the holiday season. The thief hit Calvary and Desert Springs Church and even used one of the credit cards to get a new hairdo.

Doug Shawn, Chief of Security at Desert Springs Church on Osuna and Vista Del Norte, said she was dropped off in a white car on Christmas Eve.

She knew where she was going. She had made her way to the children’s area. Our choir had staged in one of the children’s classrooms, and a lot of the women had their purses laying there,” he said.

“She sought out a room with purses, entered, grabbed it and left. Within 30 minutes, she was using the credit card at Cottonwood Mall,” he continued.

Shawn believes she is the same person who pulled off the same crime at Calvary, just down the street, the day before.

“The suspect then took a detour into the kids area, found the unattended purse, did the same thing,” he said.

The woman had dark hair that was pulled back the day she stole the purse from Calvary. The very next day, security believe the same woman walked into Desert Springs with a bit of a makeover, unknowingly paid for by one of her victims.

“The Calvary pictures, she’s got her hair pinned back and it’s dark. In our pictures, she’s got it long with highlights. So obviously, she had her hair done,” said Shawn.

Lori Valdez has been a member of Calvary for five years and said the church is welcoming. She’s in disbelief someone would take advantage of that open-door policy.

“It’s very sad that somebody has to be that desperate to do that,” she said.

Now, Shawn and his security team are warning people about leaving their valuables lying around.

“Be aware of your surroundings and do not leave your stuff unattended,” he said.

Desert Springs will be adding lockers soon so people can lock up their valuables during activities. Security said this woman does not belong to their church and police are investigating.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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