Thursday, September 11, 2003

Suspect arrested in day-care purse snatching

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A Forest Park man is in custody after a botched day-care purse theft, to the relief of parents, police and child-care workers who've seen such thefts become a suburban crime trend.

Police officials, though, say it's too early to tell whether the arrest will make a significant difference in persistent thefts from child-care parking lots.

Last week, township police arrested Anthony Stallings, 33, after he was accused of taking a purse from a vehicle parked at the Childtime Learning Center on Smith Road.

Stallings was bound over to the grand jury Monday and remains in the Butler County Jail.

West Chester Police Sgt. Steve Oakes said after last week's arrest, police probably won't see similar thefts anytime soon.

"Usually what happens is if they get wind that an arrest is made, they may get a feeling that we're watching the day cares and stay away for awhile," Oakes said.

Lucinda Napier's purse was stolen recently from the Biederman Educational Center on Hauck Road in Sharonville.

It was taken from her front seat - she had left the passenger door unlocked - while Napier dropped off her son. She was in the building for no more than three minutes.

"I was real nervous when my purse was stolen," Napier said, because her Sharonville address was listed on documents in the purse.

She called West Chester police to see if her purse or contents had been recovered, but they had not. However, she said she feels relieved after the arrest.

Sharonville, Forest Park, Hamilton, and Fairfield and Liberty townships have experienced day-care thefts, but it's been a particular problem in West Chester.

A total of 14 similar theft reports were logged in the township in 2001 and 2002, seven each year, according to Mike Neuman, Township police crime analyst.

Reporter Jennifer Edwards contributed to this report.

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