Nun’s purse snatched

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A Catholic nun, who had just gotten out of her car at home after a day of helping the poor, had her purse snatched Monday afternoon in broad daylight.

The 71-year-old gave chase, but to no avail.

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After going inside her Courtyard Apartment home to cancel her credit card she went down to the police station to file a complaint. Sister Margaret Martinek said she’s had her purse snatched before while living in Chicago – and she chased the perpetrator then.

Police are looking for a black male, about 17-years-old and about five foot six inches tall. He was wearing a hooded jacket, Sister Margaret said. There has been a rash of purse snatchings and police are encouraging citizens to “be extra careful” because the holidays are approaching.

“I was getting out of my car and he came up and grabbed it. I didn’t have much money,” Sister Margaret said.

“It was just the idea. I don’t know why they have to do that.”

Sister Margaret works at Catholic Social Ministries, an outreach ministry to the poor operated by the Edmundite Missions. For years the ministry, located at 1108 Griffin Avenue, has helped families in need by assisting with utility bills, advocacy and even groceries.

It wasn’t her first time being victimized.

“I’m from Chicago. It happened once in Chicago, and I ran after him,” she said. “I don’t know why they have to do that. I think it’s drugs. And what can we do?”

Standing barely five feet tall and 120 pounds, Sister Margaret calmly gave officer Carlos Jones information for his police report. Small in stature, Jones said Sister Margaret “showed courage” in the face of what had to be an intense moment. It wasn’t her first.

“I came home once (in Chicago) and a strange man was in there,” Sister Margaret said. “I asked him what he was doing there. He said, ‘This is my friend’s house.’ I told him it was my house. I guess the old school teacher came out in me, and I made him empty his pockets. He did, then he left.”

Sister Margaret said she wiped everything down and called the police. When the police arrived they tried to take fingerprints, but didn’t find any.

“They said, ‘This must have been a very careful burglar,'” she recalled.