Subscribe

Santa Rosa police seek public’s help in school thefts

Santa Rosa police released this photo caught from a surveillance photo, showing a woman who is suspected of stealing from school employees. (courtesy Santa Rosa Police Department)

JULIE JOHNSON , THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa police hope the public can help identify a woman investigators suspect has been stealing purses from school campuses across the city.

Employees at six schools have reported their bags were taken during school hours, Sgt. Phil Brazis said. Surveillance footage at a local store captured the image of a woman with long blonde hair police suspect tried to use a credit card from one of the stolen purses.

Police released a photograph of the woman in the hope that someone will identify her.

“We have a great deal of concern, especially because (the suspect is) going onto school campuses and entering classrooms where staff and children could be present,” Brazis said.

The first theft was reported Sept. 10. Purse thefts have taken place at Matanzas, Sequoia, Village and Steele Lane elementary schools as well as Schaeffer Charter and Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the latest theft, which was reported at the Piner-Olivet Charter School.

Several of the stolen credit cards have been used at local stores.

Anyone with information about the case or additional campus thefts can call Detective Eric McElhaney at 543-4078. The Sonoma County Alliance’s “Take Back our Community” program may offer a reward for information about the case.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@ pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.