(MILTON, Fla.) - The woman suspected of conning her way into the homes of elderly women and stealing purses has been caught in Georgia, much to the relief of her alleged victims.
“I hope she spends a long time in prison,” Willa Gray of Milton told Local 15. “I couldn’t sleep at night, thinkin’, ‘Is she gonna come back?’”
Rebecca Jean Smith, 44, is behind bars in Walton County, Georgia awaiting extradition back to Santa Rosa County. Santa Rosa investigators said Smith would come up with an excuse to get into elderly women’s homes, such as needing a glass of water to drink. When the homeowner wasn’t looking, she would allegedly snatch their purse, drive to a nearby store, and rack up large purchases on their credit cards.
“She was doin’ it to older people that don’t have a whole lot of money in the first place,” Gray said.
Gray didn’t come face to face with Smith, but said Smith snatched her purse from inside while she was either in the bathroom or working outside in the yard.
Smith is believed to have targeted at least four victims in Santa Rosa County in August. She was identified through surveillance video at stores where she allegedly used the stolen credit cards.
Smith now faces multiple counts of felony grand theft, illegal use of credit cards and burglary.
Smith also faces charges in Georgia. She was arrested and charged with two counts of credit card theft and six counts of credit card fraud.
Smith was on probation at the time of the purse snatchings, and faces additional charges of violation of probation.
Gray said Smith stole more than just her purse. She’s lost the feeling of being safe on her quiet street.
“I was never worried and I was never scared,” Gray said. “But now, I don’t trust anybody.”