Police say hospital purse thieves have been scamming people for money

LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - We're learning more about two women who police say stole a purse from a Lexington hospital by tricking a good samaritan.

Lexington Police arrested 40-year-old Susan Williams and 50-year-old Sandra Pursifull and charged them with theft.

Police say since the two were charged they've heard multiple stories from other people who say they've had encounters with the pair.

"First story ran at four o'clock and by five o'clock we had numerous calls on where these two were with positive identification," said Detective Mike Sweeney with Lexington Police.

Police say the public helped identify both women within minutes. As they began a search police kept an eye out for the moving van the the women were seen driving in surveillance videos, eventually locating it and arresting Williams and Pursifull

Williams and Pursifull were at Baptist Health Hospital in Lexington when a worker there found a purse. Police say they told the worker that they knew who it belonged to and took it from him.

Police say they took a credit card from that purse and used it to buy gas and cigarettes. Police also say they took a wedding ring from the purse to a pawn shop, where it was sold and melted down.

After the story aired police began receiving more calls about the women.

"Traveling to Shell gas stations, pandering for money or food if they could. One individual even took them to a K-Mart and bought them 26 dollars worth of clothes and diapers for a non-existent baby," Sweeney said.

Sweeney says they sometimes used the Uhaul van they were driving as a prop.

"They asked for money to leave town, said they're trying to leave town to get back to Arizona."

Sweeney says that van was rented in February and never returned. As for why the pair was at the hospital in the first place, he says it was to get a free meal.

"They went in there with the intention to eat and that's what they did. They went straight to the chaplains office and said 'We are here visiting a friend and we don't have any money for food,' and the chaplain gave them a voucher."

Both woman are charged with theft but Susan Williams also faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card because of the gas and cigarettes that were purchased.

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