2007_03_purse.jpgA truly strange set of robberies has been solved in Staten Island. Strange because many took place at funeral homes. Jacqueline Garbutt hit three funeral homes a number of times, stealing purses from mourning family members and even jewelry belonging to the dead as she posed as a mourner herself. Police nabbed Garbutt after surveillance images from grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies where she used stolen credit cards and checkbooks. Her first haul was a woman's purse at a beauty salon and the police are questioning her about other robberies.

While Garbutt told police she was very sorry and that she turned to robbery for food, a woman whose purse was stolen at her aunt's funeral said, "I think she is a scumbag, in plain English. There is nothing else to say. It's sad, because she is really preying on people grieving for family members." Garbutt had been featured in the Staten Island Advance 14 years ago when she opened a computer store. The Advance also reports that she was involved with an abusive boyfriend and had lost her job recently.

And police believe one person is behind daytime muggings that have taken place in Manhattan. Between February 11 and February 28, a mugger threatened nine people with a knife to give up their money and other items. The locations vary from Midtown East to Midtown West, with some forays in the Upper East and Upper West Sides. No one has been injured yet, but the police are are on the lookout.