Police Confident Bewitched Statue Purse Snatching Didn't Occur
Police believe the woman who reported the Aug. 20 incident was attempting to commit identity fraud.
Salem Police say they are confident an armed robbery at the Bewitched statue that was reported last week did not actually occur.
On Monday, Aug. 20, police said a woman came into the police station to report her purse (which contained forms of identification) was cut from her shoulder while she was visiting the Bewitched Statue on Aug. 19 in the afternoon. In the report, police said the woman told them she fell to the ground. and "several people were around yelling to stop the kids (the suspects), but they fled the area."
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, Capt. Thomas Griffin of the Salem Police Department told Salem Patch authorities believe "the only crime was that the woman made a false police report, and we believe it was an attempt to assume some else's identity."
Griffin said when the report of the armed robbery came in, authorities took notice of the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident. An alleged armed robbery in the middle of a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the downtown area without one call to the department struck police as odd, and Griffin said that's when authorities followed up.
When the woman listed on the report was contacted, Griffin said she had no idea what police were talking about and wasn't even in the city when the armed robbery allegedly occurred.
As a result, Griffin said police believe the woman who reported the robbery had some information on the woman she was imitating and was trying "to have a police report generated." Then, Griffin said, detectives theorize the woman would try to get documents and identifications produced (like a license or passport) in the name of the other woman with the police report in hand as an explanation for the loss of personal documents.
"That's our theory at this point," Griffin said. "Once we catch up with the person, we'll actually get to the bottom of it. I can't think of any other rationale."
The good news in the situation is for those concerned about the seemingly brazen crime reported last week — it seems the Bewitched Statue purse snatching was just a bunch of hocus pocus.