UPDATE: Suspected Purse Thief Photos Released

Help us identify the suspect who stole a 69-year-old woman’s purse, with her rosary inside, on the evening of February 21. He was described as white, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds, with a thin build, 25 to 28 years old. The suspect was seen getting into a light-colored pickup truck with a ladder rack in the back.

If you recognize him or have information on his whereabouts, please contact the Mount Vernon Criminal Investigations Section at 703-360-8400 (hit zero at the voice prompt) or the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131. You can also contact Crime Solvers electronically by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637).

Thief Steals Woman’s Purse with Rosary Inside; Victim Surprised by Officer’s Response

Mount Vernon Police District – A 69-year-old woman experienced a frightening moment when a man walked up to her car as she was getting into the driver’s seat, pulled open the passenger door and stole her purse from the seat inside. The victim startled and alarmed, immediately called police and PFC Matthew Pleva responded to assist. This took place on Tuesday, February 21 around 7 p.m. at a shopping center in the 6700 block of Richmond Highway.

After calming the victim, who was rather shaken up, and ensuring she had not been harmed, PFC Pleva conducted a thorough police investigation, as with any other call for service. The victim reported that among the usual items inside her purse, her rosary was also inside. PFC Pleva documented the stolen purse and items inside.

The following Saturday, the 69-year-old woman received an unexpected visitor at her home. It was PFC Pleva. He remembered her rosary had been taken with her purse. Also being a man of faith, he just stopped by to give her a new rosary. The victim noted that upon presenting it to her, he simply stated: “You can’t go to Mass tomorrow without a rosary.”

The victim was so moved by the officer’s thoughtfulness and compassion, she wrote a commendation letter to the Mount Vernon District Station Commander. Just a small token of kindness and generosity by one officer made a big difference in one person’s life. Thank you, PFC Pleva for going above and beyond for your community!