Stolen purse contained irreplaceable pictures

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 5:29 PM EST
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A brash and brazen crime took place Tuesday in the parking lot of a St. Joseph County day care.

At about 8:40 a.m., a women parked her car in the lot of Friends Early Learning Center on Cleveland Road and brought her child inside.

Security camera footage then shows a silver Volkswagen pull alongside her vehicle, and a hooded crook sneaks out the back door to grab a purse from her front seat.

“Well, when I got into my car, my car actually beeped at me and told me that the key fob was missing. And so I knew automatically to look over at my, you know, where my keys were, and they were in my purse, and my purse was gone,” victim Jami Montel said.

Montel’s car had a dashboard camera that showed the thieves taking a long, hard look at another car in the lot before leaving the scene.

The crook’s car appeared to have a Michigan license plate.

While the stolen purse contained valuables such as credit and debit cards, it also had a flash drive that contained something priceless: pictures of a stillborn baby.

“There was a USB drive in there that had pictures of our daughter that was just lost two months ago, and we just have this picture of her now and we have a few other pictures, but there's a lot of pictures on that USB drive that we don't have printed out, and we need to get that back. We don't, we can't, we don't have these memories with her now. We only had a short 12 hours with her in the hospital, and, you know, we just need them back,” Montel said.

“I just really hope that people, you know -- whoever did this, in their heart, can see what happened and just please return our flash drive to us,” Jacob Walters added. “It just kills us knowing this.”

The owner of the Clay Township day care said she’s never seen anything like this in her 17 years in business.

The stolen purse was white and tan in color.

The owner would appreciate any help the public can offer in locating the flash drive.

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