Preying on the Praying: Watch as Man Steals 84-Year-Old Woman’s Purse in Church

One Florida man who took the opportunity to snatch an elderly woman’s purse while she was praying in church last December was formally charged with grand theft after he was finally apprehended during a traffic stop last week.

Iinstead of paying respectful attention to his niece’s baptism that was going on at the time, Jonathan Somps, 30, allegedly took it upon himself to break the eighth commandment and steal an 84-year-old woman’s purse at the Our Lady Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church in North Lauderdale, according to the New York Daily News.

Video surveillance footage appears to show Somps as he enters the room, scanning it for several seconds before targeting Aida Campos de Sanchez while she seemed to be “deep in prayer” and eyeing the purse that she had set in the chair beside her, according to the Florida Sun Sentinel. As the woman continued praying, Somps snuck closer and leaned in, apparently snatching the purse from the chair as he began to make his hasty exit. But Sanchez immediately noticed the theft and rose up to follow after Somps, who managed to make his escape successfully.

Although Somps got away at the time, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said that after the footage was aired on TV, a tipster identified Somps as the thief, according to the New York Daily News. Sanchez’s purse was discovered in a nearby cemetery two days later with all of her money and valuables removed.

But Somps could not evade the law or the church for long. He was arrested on a DUI charge on Jan. 15 in Fort Lauderdale, and upon his arrest, Somps received an added charge for grand theft, the Sun Sentinel reported.

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