Police: Arkansas Mother Trained Children to Steal Purses

Police in Fort Smith arrested a woman for allegedly training her son and daughter to help steal purses from distracted women at local stores.

Bridget Kursh, 25, is charged with nine counts of theft for a series of purse thefts at several retail stores on Friday and Saturday. Police say Kursh was with her two children and would distract a shopper by talking to her. When the victim was looking away, the woman's 10-year-old son would grab the purse from the shopping cart and run away.

The mother and children would meet up elsewhere in the store and leave together.

"The fact that they would so blatantly use children to help them commit these crimes is a little disturbing," Fort Smith police spokesman Sgt. Jarrard Copeland said Tuesday.

Police say the boy also faces charges and is in juvenile custody. Police say there was not enough evidence to charge the girl.

Surveillance video shows that after taking the purse, the boy would run to the next aisle and watch which direction his mother went. The boy would follow and the three would go to a waiting car.

"A lot of time the victim doesn't even realize the purse is gone for several minutes, maybe even hours," Copeland said.

Police are still looking for the driver of a maroon Mercury Sable or Mystique with paper tags. Investigators said the three would visit the same store as many as three times in an hour.