BELLEVUE, Ky. – Preying on the good nature of people during the holiday season, a woman stole a cellphone and two credit cards from an employee at Virgil’s Restaurant.
A female suspect entered the Bellevue eatery and told its staff she wished to speak to the owner about a fundraiser she was hosting to help pay for the burial of her 6-year-old nephew, detective Jon McClain reported.
The woman produced a ledger with names and money already pledged by other Bellevue businesses when asked, according to witnesses. As the woman waited for the owner she allegedly stole the phone and cards from an employee’s purse.
A surprising move the suspect made, McClain told WCPO reporter Natasha Williams, was that she apparently left her own purse at Virgil's, then returned to fetch it.
Williams also spoke to the owner of the restaurant, Matt Buschle. He said in 15 years of being in the restaurant industry, he had yet to see a crime like this one.
"I think it was completely and utterly a crime of opportunity," Buschle said, "and I think there are people up and down the avenue hat simply handed out money."
Police in the area said they believe she has made her way around the city, possibly collecting money from businesses and using the same story.
The woman then used one of the stolen cards at a United Dairy Farmer's down the street where she purchased peanuts, a pack of gum, and three packs of cigarettes. By tracking the illegal use of the credit card, McClain was able to obtain an image of the suspect caught on UDF’s security camera.
Witnesses saw the suspect drive away in a maroon late 1990s Dodge Stratus.
Jody Robinson has lived in Bellevue for many years, and told Williams she hopes crimes and scams don't tarnish the town's image.
"We actually carry the moniker of Mayberry and now it's like 'oh, it's dangerous and urban' and that is not the case at all," Robinson said.
Everywhere she walks and goes in Bellevue, Robinson said she feels safe.
The female suspect is wanted for burglary and two counts of unauthorized use of a credit card.
Anyone with information is asked to call Det. McClain at (859) 292-4234.