Police make arrest after thief steals purses from yoga studios in Greater Cincinnati

Studio owner's alert leads to arrest

CINCINNATI – Police charged a 22-year-old woman Thursday for stealing purses from yoga classes throughout Greater Cincinnati.

While police tried to figure out if nearly a dozen thefts were related, Missy Tyszkiewicz of Move Your Hyde Power Yoga sent an email alert to some 60 yoga studios after a thief hit hers in Hyde Park.

"It (the theft) was so well played, that I knew she had done this before, and that she was going to do it again," she told Tyszkiewicz told WCPO reporter Scott Wegener.

Police say that helped lead to an arrest.

"Instead of being embarrassed about what happened, I decided it needed to be bigger than this. It needs to be about the community stopping this person from doing it again," Tyszkiewicz said.

Tyszkiewicz said a woman dressed in yoga gear signed up for a class, put down a mat and then walked out with two purses. She pretended to be a yoga student, but had her eyes on purses during the act.

"Within about 30 seconds, the teacher realized she hadn't come back ... so she got up to check on her and realized she was gone," Tyszkiewicz said.

RELATED: Thief stealing purses from yoga classes in Greater Cincinnati

Others said the woman drove off in a bright red vehicle.

About an hour later, a credit card from one of the stolen purses was used at Toys R Us in Kenwood.

After Tyszkiewicz put out the alert, Modo Yoga, a studio in Crescent Springs, Kentucky, knew to be on the lookout. In early April, employees called 911 after becoming suspicious of a woman inside.

Police responded and arrested Lashonda Miller, 22. The police report says Miller gave a false name and had a stolen wallet of a yoga student.

More studios came forward, saying that Miller had hit their facilities, too.

"When word spread after our story aired on Channel 9, several other yoga studios called police, saying they've been victimized too," Tyszkiewicz said. "I'm so proud that we were able to be a part of stopping this from happening."

Miller now faces charges of theft and misuse of a credit card in Hamilton County. At her arraignment Thursday she was given a $10,000 bond on each charge, totaling $30,000.

At least one additional charge was filed later Wednesday, as police said Norwood is pressing charges against Miller for similar crimes in their jurisdiction.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 12.

As a result of the thefts, Tyszkiewicz is making clients pay upfront and offering a separate room for items to be secured.

"We will still be on our guard and I hope the rest of the community got the notice and they will be aware," Tyszkiewicz said. "I don't want to say leery because you never want to be leery of someone new coming into your studio, but just aware."

She's encouraged to know her email blast worked. She feels as more charges come for Miller, it shows that speaking out makes a difference.

"Speak up," Tyszkiewicz said. "If you want to change the world, than be the person that does it."


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