A 25-year-old woman created a ruse to convince a grocery
store shopper to leave her purse unattended, enabling the woman to steal her wallet, according to Bensalem Police.
Brooke Alana Lerner, of the 900 block of Avenue C in Langhorne, was arrested on Monday and charged with access device fraud and criminal attempt, both third-degree felonies, as well as retail theft, identity theft and five related misdemeanor charges.
Bensalem Police allege that on the evening of Nov. 18 Lerner, while at the Giant Food store on Street Road in Bensalem Township, asked a Croydon woman to get a box of pasta at the far end of the aisle. The woman told police that Lerner stayed at her shopping cart, which contained her purse and wallet, while she walked to get the pasta.
When the woman returned with the pasta, the other woman–identified as Lerner–left the aisle “hurriedly,” according to police.
While attempting to pay for her groceries, the shopper discovered that her wallet was missing. She returned to the aisle where she had met Lerner, according to police, and found that her glue stick was on the floor. Police allege that Lerner dropped it while hastily stealing her wallet.
Less than an hour after the victim’s interaction with Lerner, the woman advised police that someone had tried to use her credit card at the nearby Kmart store on Street Road in Bensalem to purchase a 50-inch flat screen TV, DVD player, pet food and other items totaling $624.90. When the card was denied, police said Lerner left the store without paying for items valued at $90.11.
Kmart personnel obtained the license plate number of the vehicle, which police said was registered to Lerner. Police showed a Kmart employee a photo of Lerner and, according to court documents, the woman “positively identified” Lerner as the woman who attempted to make the purchase and allegedly stole the items.
Lerner remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail. She awaits a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.