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Purse theft leaves woman ‘scared’

Photos of children, recently deceased father lost in Canyon Country crime

Posted: May 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hortensia Mares holds the paperwork required to replace her stolen purse at her daughter’s home in Lancaster on Monday.

LANCASTER - When a brazen thief drove through a Canyon Country parking lot, bumped a woman visiting from Lancaster, snatched her purse and drove off, he stole far more than 17 dollars and change.

He robbed Hortensia Mares of her life - compacted into one purse.

Photos of her kids as infants, of her father who died at Christmas, her Social Security card, handicap permit, Auto Club card and health insurance card all were gone with the thief.

"I cried and cried when it happened. I just got so scared," she told The Signal at her daughter's home in Lancaster, where she lives.

It was Friday when she and friend Rachel drove from Lancaster to Valencia to shop at The Promenade center on McBean and Magic Mountain parkways.

"I hadn't had my morning coffee so I stopped at Starbucks," said Mares, 55, referring to the coffee shop at the corner of Whites Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road.

While her friend went into T.J. Maxx, Mares went to Starbucks.

"I got my coffee and stepped down from the curb, and I was walking across the parking lot to T.J. Maxx," Mares said. "I felt the presence of this car near me and I kind of moved over and then he bumped me with the car. He hit me.

"And as the car went by he put his hand out and grabbed my purse," she said. "We weren't there more than 15 minutes."

Mares, who is struggling through a divorce, now has to contact her husband because he's the primary signatory on their insurance plan.

She desperately needs the coverage because she suffers from lupus and is on Social Security.

On Friday, immediately after the purse snatching, she canceled her bank debit card.

Since Saturday, she's done nothing but replace cards and cancel cards. Some, like her handicapped permit card, are harder to replace than others.

On Monday, she went through the tedious task of obtaining a replacement Social Security card.

On Tuesday, a locksmith is coming to her daughter's house to change the locks; the thief has her address and keys to the house.

"I had photos of my kids when they were infants," Mares said, holding back tears. "I had a photo of my father who passed away in December.

"They don't need my personal things," she said.

Mares fully appreciates that the thief has likely thrown away her personal things. But in the off chance that he hasn't, she wants him to put those small tokens of her life in the mail.

She described the thief as a man in his early 20s, fair-skinned with black hair, driving a white car similar to a Honda.

The incident has rekindled memories of "a nightmare" for Mares, who once worked as a teller at a bank that was robbed.

"This incident is bringing all that back for me," she said. "Something like this will - I don't want it to be a scar on me."

The next few days, weeks and months will only tell if it actually does, she said.




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