Reporting Rachel Slavik
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – There is a happy ending to a story first reported Monday. On Christmas Eve, 91-year-old Harvey Prochnow had his wallet ripped right out of his hands. Thanks to surveillance video, St. Paul Police arrested 20-year-old Renesha Motten for the crime. But, most importantly, they recovered the wallet.
When WCCO first met Prochnow on Monday afternoon, he had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing his wallet again.
“I would have caught her when I was younger,” said Prochnow, on Monday, as he described his wallet being stolen.
The woman suspected of snatching the wallet from his hand at a convenience store Christmas Eve took far more than the cash inside. Prochnow kept a lifetime’s worth of memories in it.
“Anyway, there’s a bunch of cards and I’m broken hearted to lose all the stuff,” said Prochnow said on Monday.
But the convenience store had surveillance cameras which captured her in the act. St. Paul Police quickly started the investigation.
“The most important thing was to get his wallet back,” said St. Paul Police Sgt. Charlie Anderson.
Four days after it was ripped from his hands, Anderson returned his wallet.
“I’m glad we could get it back to you,” said Anderson, as he handed the wallet to Prochnow.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Prochnow.
The cash is gone, but inside the items he cared about most were left untouched.
“I think we all have those things, those intangibles, that you can’t really talk about the value because they mean so much to you,” said Anderson.
Still in place, the card from 1945 which marks Prochnow’s honorable discharge from the military and a prayer note made 60 years ago for his kids.
“It says, ‘Holy Spirit guide me by thy might so I can live a righteous life.’ In other words, if you don’t do what’s right, you’re going to be in trouble,” said Prochnow.
It’s a piece of wisdom that was lost on the suspected thief who now faces felony theft charges. Prochnow’s hope is he can now share that message in person.
“If I get a chance, I would like to, face-to-face, talk to that lady. I feel very sorry for her,” said Prochnow.
The felony charge comes because she actually took it from his hand. While there was not weapon, it’s still considered a robbery. If she had grabbed it from the counter, that would have been a lesser charge.
According to the criminal complaint, Motten was at that St. Paul convenience store to fill out a job application.