With the arrest of a Roaring Branch woman, state police have solved a rash of cases in which purses were snatched from women's shopping carts at several stores
It is unlikely the purses ever will be recovered because Bethann Donato claimed that after she and her boyfriend stole them, they burned them in a fire pit at her home at 273 Bridge St., Trooper Angela Bieber said in an affidavit.
Donato, 28, and her boyfriend, who lives out of state and has not been charged, conspired to steal purses at the Weis Markets in Montoursville and Loyalsock Township, Wegmans in the city, Giant Food Store on East Third Street and Wal-Mart in Montoursville.
The thefts occurred Aug. 3-8, Bieber said.
Donato has admitted that while she had her children with her, she stole Germaine Donahue's purse from Giant, Bieber said. Donato said she and the children waited in a getaway car as her boyfriend stole Mona Barlett's purse from a car at the Weis Markets in the township.
Donato said she and her boyfriend later "used some of the cash (found in the purse) to buy heroin," Bieber said investigators were told. Donato said they also used a bank card to withdraw cash from Barlett's account.
Donato was arraigned last week before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman on charges of theft, receiving stolen property, access device fraud, corrupting the morals of a minor and conspiracy. She was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Additional charges are expected to be filed by city and Montoursville police at a later date.