According to New Boston Police, a Portsmouth woman was walking to her vehicle in the Walmart parking lot in New Boston on March 26 when surveillance video recorded her loading items into her vehicle while her purse was unattended in her shopping cart behind her. The camera filmed a male suspect walking up and grabbing the purse, running to and then getting inside a silver Ford Explorer with two other people, and driving away.
Police said the same three suspects struck again on March 30. Video surveillance captured one female suspect as she walked up to distract an 89-year-old woman inside Walmart, while another female grabbed the victim’s purse from her shopping cart. The women both ran outside with the stolen purse and jumped into the same silver Ford Explorer that was seen in the previous snatching. Another suspect was already waiting for them inside the vehicle and they drove away.
New Boston Police developed leads and traced the vehicle’s license plate, and identified the suspects as James Gilliam, 38, of Greenup, Ky.; Jennifer Craft, 23, of Greenup, and her sister Jessica Craft, 34, of South Shore, Ky.
The police investigation also identified these same three people were involved in a purse snatching at the Portsmouth Kroger on April 5. In that incident, an 80-year-old woman had her purse yanked from her hands by a male suspect. They were also identified in an incident about a week ago, when an elderly woman had her purse stolen inside the Ashland, Ky., Walmart.
These findings were turned over to Portsmouth and Ashland police departments.
New Boston Police obtained an arrest warrant for the three suspects on April 15. Jessica and Jennifer Craft were arrested by Greenup authorities and charged with felony theft. They were taken to Greenup County Jail pending extradition to Ohio.
James Gilliam was not found and is still being sought by police.