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This Just In: December 18 - 25

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The Church Purse Snatcher

Summary: A man is taken into custody for robbing a woman of her belongings -- including a Bible. Reporter: Tara Edwards, WTAE Channel 4 Airtime: 1 minute, 48 seconds on Dec. 14 Visuals: * Edwards outside the Allegheny County Jail. * An illustrated map with a big red dot where Homewood is! Highlights: * When anchor Jake Ploeger blurts out, "Good evening. An 80-year-old woman on her way to church, robbed." (Don't you love it when they begin a story like that with "Good evening"?) * When anchor Shannon Perrine builds on the dramatic tension: "The attacker stole her purse, and her Bible, before beating her up. ... And Tara, the pastor of the church jumped into action here?" * When Edwards responds, "Yeah, the pastor saw what took place and decided to follow the suspect. In the meantime, the victim told police all she could do was pray." * When Edwards says, "Fifty-nine-year-old Richard Trent had nothing to say as he was escorted into a police cruiser and off to the Allegheny County Jail. Some time after 9 o'clock this morning, police say he approached an 80-year-old woman who had just gotten off a bus on her way to Mount Ararat Church in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood near Paulson Avenue." * When a Pittsburgh police sergeant reports, "As she was uh, walking towards the church, an unknown black male approached her from behind, took her purse and beat her in the head with an umbrella several times." * When Edwards continues, "The suspect took off running, according to police, but a minister at the church witnessed what happened and was in pursuit by car. Following the robber, he called 911. Four blocks away from the crime scene, the chase ended here ... in Larimer. Police say they were able to respond quickly and once they got here, the minister pointed out Trent." * When the sergeant reports, "They stopped and apprehended him and in his possession, he still had the victim's purse and Bible bag. And also, she positively identified him." * When Edwards ends, "Pittsburgh police tell us they had recently beefed up patrols in the area of Mount Ararat, where there had been several reports of church-goers' cars being broken into. Officers say their close presence allowed them to respond and make the arrest faster. ... The woman was OK, and after all this happened, she still went to church." What We Learned: You couldn't ask for a better, more heart-tugging Christmastime story. Unanswered Question: Will this elderly woman donate the Bible to her attacker so he has something to read while in jail? News Value: 6. A pretty decent job of crime spot-news. Though, I really would have enjoyed it if the lady had tried to beat him with her Bible ...

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