Purse snatchers target women visiting loved ones at local cemeteries

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Police are warning those visiting cemeteries after thieves hit gravesites twice this weekend.

Women visiting the graves of their loved ones had purses stolen out of their cars — one of which was locked.

Sunday morning around 9 a.m., a 62-year-old Canfield woman went to visit her late husband at Austintown’s Resurrection Cemetery on N. Raccoon Road.

Police said an older red Ford SUV pulled up near her car and a man got out.

“Took out some device out of the rear hatch, and smashed out a window and grabbed her purse, which was on the seat inside the vehicle,” said Austintown Police Det. Jeff Toth.

The thief threw the purse out of his car window, but not before taking $50.

Later that morning around 10:30, a married couple was visiting a grave at St. John’s Cemetery in Coitsville Township. The wife told her husband to lock the car, but he didn’t.

A man in a bronze SUV pulled up and took the purse. It was later found in Struthers but the wallet was gone.

While WYTV 33 News was at Resurrection Cemetery on Tuesday, a woman left her door open while visiting a gravesite. Even though she was only gone a couple of minutes, officers said that’s not a good idea.

“They need to be real careful with personal belongings in their vehicle. You know, they’re out of the vehicle, they’re visiting the grave, and they need to lock all those items in the trunk or secure them somewhere where, you know, somebody can’t get at them,” Toth said.

Police are still looking for the two men responsible for stealing the purses on Sunday.

Toth said it looks like the theft at Resurrection Cemetery was pre-meditated. He had something ready to break a window and may have been scoping the cemetery, waiting for the opportunity.