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This Just In: December 10 - 17

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Invasion of the Purse Snatchers

Summary: A Beaver County couple is charged after a series of purse thefts. Reporter: David Highfield, KDKA Channel 2 Airtime: 2 minutes, 21 seconds on Dec. 3 Visuals: * One of the victims, as she holds the large, tote-style purse she boldly reclaimed from her alleged assailant. Highlights: * When anchor Ken Rice warns, "This is the season that thieves look for opportunities." * When Highfield, who is standing in a vacant parking lot in Chippewa Township (sans purse) informs us, "In two of the cases, police say the women who were targeted had their purses in shopping carts. ... Now, most of the women got their purses back, including the one you're about to meet." * When Highfield shows us, "This is the purse [one victim] almost lost when she was shopping at this Wal-Mart." * When the female victim recalls, "They just came right by and she bumped me and said, 'Oh, I'm sorry.' And I said, 'Oh, that's OK,' and they kept going and he just grabbed my purse out of the cart." * When Highfield reports, "Police say it was this man -- 23-year-old Joshua Rinaman -- who grabbed the purse [she] left in her cart and then, he had handed it to 21-year-old Amber Mansell by the time [the victim] caught up with him." * When the victim tells us, "I kind of jogged up to them and said, 'Excuse me, you just took my purse,' and she denied it. I saw it in her hand though, and she said, 'Oh, sorry, it was on the floor,' and I said, 'Well, that's my purse,' and I just snatched it right back off of her." * When Highfield continues, "[P]olice say [Rinaman] stole a woman's purse inside this Giant Eagle. Once again, the woman came after him, chasing him through the store until he dropped it." * When Highfield adds, "And police say this snatching spree ended after another attempt at the Wal-Mart, when security chased him out and got a license plate number." What We Learned: Let's hear it for the fanny pack! Unanswered Question: Why don't we ever hear about purse thieves who steal purses for the purse, which are often worth more than what money is inside of them? News Value: 5. If there was an upside to this, I guess it would be that at least no one was beating helpless, little old ladies. In fact, the real attention-getter here is the chutzpah of some of the victims, including the one interviewed. Otherwise, Highfield gives us the details straight-up, making for a cookie-cutter seasonal story. 

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