2 arrested in rash of East Hempfield Twp. purse thefts

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Patrick Alan Clawges

Patrick Alan Clawges

EAST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa.–Two people were arrested Friday after police said they committed a rash of purse thefts at shopping centers in Lancaster County.

Amy Jo Greer, 27, and Patrick A. Clawges, 49, both of Manheim, are each charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery and theft by unlawful taking. The pair were arrested early Friday morning and taken to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail.

The latest incident happened Wednesday at BJ’s Wholesale located alongĀ  the 100 block of Centerville Road in East Hempfield Township around 3:20 p.m. A 74-year-old woman told police she had been unloading items from her shopping cart into her car when a woman, later identified as Greer, grabbed her purse. The woman tried to get her purse back–but she was knocked to the ground while the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle. The victim was treated at a local hospital and released.

Amy Jo Greer

Amy Jo Greer

Earlier on Wednesday–police investigated another purse theft at Giant located along the 500 block of Centerville Road. A woman told police she was shopping inside the store–when a man came up to her and engaged her in small talk. While the man distracted her–a woman stole her purse from her shopping cart.

A woman also reported her purse was stolen from her vehicle at the same Giant on Tuesday morning. The woman told police the theft occurred while she was retuning her shopping cart after unloading her groceries into her vehicle in the parking lot.

Police believe Greer and Clawges responsible for all three thefts.