Student’s purse stolen during high school registration

Safford police were advised of a possible theft of a purse or wallet during Safford High School registration on July 31.  A student contacted authorities the following day to report that she had left her wallet by the counselors office. The wallet had $30 cash, a credit card and a driver’s license, among other things. The student said that someone had told her that the wallet had been picked up by a counselor and was put in the counselor’s office. The student went to the counselor’s office and learned that the wallet had been picked up by a young boy. The boy had apparently been there earlier with his mother and two sisters. One of the sisters was registering for school. The person who gave the wallet to the boy said that they weren’t sure if they should open the wallet to see who it belonged to.

Authorities checked video surveillance footage and saw the family finish the registration process and walk out into the hallway. At that point the boy didn’t have anything in his hand. When they were in front of the library, the boy and one of the girls stopped and talked briefly before turning and walking back to the counselor’s office. When they came out, the boy had a white purse, or wallet in his hand. The video showed them pulling items out of the wallet as they walked. Some of the contents were discarded into a trash can while the group walked toward the parking lot. The video showed the group walk to a car in the parking lot and drive away. The discarded items were later found in a trash can.

The officer found an address and drove to the family’s home. When he arrived it appeared that nobody was home, but soon the car that was seen in the surveillance video drove up to the residence. When they saw the officer there, they drove away. The officer eventually found the car parked behind another residence. As the officer approached the vehicle he saw the boy that had taken the wallet standing by the car. He asked the boy if his mother was around and the boy said that she was. The officer asked him to get her. The boy walked around the residence and came back with his mother.

The mother told the officer that when they were registering her daughter, somebody in the counselor’s office asked if they had left a wallet. She replied that they had not lost one. As the group was leaving, one of the girls convinced the boy to go back and get the wallet. She told the officer that she knew it was wrong and that she had made a bad choice in letting them take it.

The boy told the officer that a lady in the counselor’s office asked his mother if she had left her purse behind. The mother replied that it was not hers and the group left. According to the boy, the mother asked one of the girls to go back and get the purse but she refused. She then asked the boy and he went back with the other girl. The boy apparently took the money out of the purse and threw out some other papers, which included a parking permit, and registration receipt. The group then went to a convenience store and spent the money on chips and drinks.

The officer recovered the wallet and missing paperwork. Pending charges include Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Possession of Stolen Property and Conspiracy to Commit a Crime of Theft. The juveniles in the case will be referred to Juvenile Probation.