Charges: Woman, Husband Track Down Purse Thief

HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — After a day of skiing at Buck Hill, a Twin Cities couple came out to the parking lot to a disturbing sight. The window to their vehicle had been smashed and a woman’s Coach purse and wallet were missing. A seemingly common crime anywhere in America, but with a less than common response.

The victims quickly reported the theft to Burnsville police and then called their credit card companies to cancel the stolen accounts. Soon after, they learned that unauthorized charges were already showing up from a nearby shopping center.

That’s when the husband and wife decided to swing by Burnsville Center, which was on their way to the police station. They were playing a hunch that the suspected thief was nearby, using the credit cards to make purchases at Macy’s and T-Mobile.

“People doing this type of crime know that they have to act fast because (credit cards) will eventually get declined. So they’re going to do as much as they can, as quick as they can,” said Sgt. Rory Bochniak.

Bochniak’s assessment was dead on. Call it fate or just plain dumb luck — the alleged thief was standing outside the T-Mobile store where a clerk had just denied her $600 transaction.

That’s when the victim’s husband spotted the woman, identified as 37-year-old Jennifer Elizabeth Martin, holding what he was certain was his wife’s stolen purse.

The husband confronted Martin outside the T-Mobile store and began asking questions about where she got the purse. After becoming increasingly suspicious, he grabbed the hat off her head and went inside the store. A T-Mobile clerk identified the hat as worn by the same person who had just tried to use the stolen credit card.

At that point, mall security noticed the confrontation and arrived on scene. They would later track down video of Martin inside the nearby Macy’s. Store video captured Martin in the act of using the stolen credit card to purchase clothing totaling $245.71 worth of goods.

Police arrested Martin, who is now charged with three felony counts of identity theft and fraud. A crime largely solved due to a victim’s quick actions.

“They wasted no time and that’s what helped this crime get solved,” Sgt. Bochniak said. “If they had waited until they got home, we wouldn’t be where we are now with somebody in custody.”

More from Bill Hudson
  • X-Puffer

    Outstanding job catching this Whiskey.

  • Sue

    What a total skank!

  • to catch a thief

    Awesome. She’s gone.

  • buggy

    I love stories like this — way to go!!! Geez Louise — she’s 36 — that’s scary!

    • me

      Meth is a helllava drug Buggy…..

      • flanders

        No kidding I was thinking 50-55.. 36 yikes! What a troll!

  • mannex67

    There ought to be a designated island in the middle of the ocean were we could banish murderers and career criminals like this.

    • Richard in Minneapolis

      England actually had such a place until the latter half of the 18th century. They called it “North America”.

      • @ RichardHead

        Actually, Australia.

  • Mound...

    …the next Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids!

    I LOVE that they busted this hoe. BTW, 36?? More like 56. That’s what drugs does to you.

  • GH

    I hope that when you get in an accident or someone breaks into your home that you don’t call 911. You are an idiot and you have no respect for the men and women that serve this community. if you had any idea the kind of bs those people have to put up with everyday I’m guessing you woulnd’t be such a jerk!

    • teabaghater

      I have respect for them but they all choose that line of work and they get paid so I don’t feel I have to keep patting them on the back for doing they’re job. They are doing what they are supposed to do, so hey!

      • GH

        You could say the same about the men and women in the military. They get paid for what they do, so should we keep patting them on the back? Don’t get me wrong, my brother is active in the army and I have a great amount of respect for him and what he does, but your comment doesn’t make a lot of sense.
        Every job has its bad apples, but if people would take the time to get to know the officers in their community instead of just bashing them all the time, you might learn that they are just like you and I. They are husbands, wives, parents, children, church members, sports fans, etc… They are not out to get your money (in fact, if you knew how much they made you would think the opposite)

    • Andy

      I have had my house broken into and caught them with shot gun in hand, warned them never to come back and guess what, I have not had a problem since. If I get into an accident I will rely on some true heroes like paramedics and fire firefighters, certainly not a cop. Firefighters and paramedics don’t rob citizens by ticket and victimless crime arrests to justify their pathetic jobs. Also I was marine for 14 years so I’m pretty sure I can take care of myself and my family. The marines I served with in Iraq and Afghanistan are real heroes. Cops are mostly crooks with badges, face the truth it will set you free. Another thing, quit that pathetic government job.

      • Andy

        Gh check out it will help you know the truth.

        • Andy

          Sorry or

  • ha ha

    hey michelle d is that you???

    • No, it's actually....

      Amy Senser in 1 year.

  • Mount Olympus

    Calm down there Hero…death, really, I mean I hate criminals probably just as much as you but death??? You’re flipping crazy, probably straight jacket crazy.

    • jackactionhero

      I’m not the one breaking into other people’s private property to steal their money, their identity and go on a shopping spree either.

      Are you?

      Or do you just appreciate these people’s contributions to our society that much?

      • Aethelbert

        No, you’re just the one who wants to kill people for non-violent crimes.

        And therefore you have no credibility, and should stop wasting bandwidth.

        Somalia and Saudi Arabia are just across the globe. Your thought patterns would fit right in. Have a nice trip.

        • aethelbert

          Again, aimed at “jack”

          this interface sux

          • jackactionhero

            Why should they not be? You are big with your insults, but not with any solutions. I do feel they should be executed. People like this are not welcome in our society. You disagree? You want her as your neighbor?

            Do you have any solutions, or are you just here looking for a conflict to cure your boredom?

      • aethelbert

        “You don’t agree with me, so I’ll ask a question insulting your sexuality / patriotism / etc”

        You and Newt must spoon.

  • Eathelbard

    I’m gonna follow you around a few days, and if I see you jaywalking I’m gonna meet out your brand of justice just to keep you from being a hypocrite.

    You are such a blowhard.

    • jackactionhero

      I’ll be walking around Prescott Wisconsin. I look forward to seeing you in your little chevy.

      • GH

        out looking for more milk?

      • desert eagle .50

        Don’t get lost. Wouldn’t want the pipes in your trailer to freeze. You won’t be looking forward to seeing me, I can assure you of that. Are you still living at the flea market by The Point, or is that where yo usell fleas for a “living?”

        Oh, and please be specific.

    • Eathelbard

      That was aimed at “jack”

    • GH

      You’re going to compare jaywalking to what this woman has done over and over? Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could run over the jerks that jaywalk in stillwater when I’m trying to go through my green light, but I don’t think it deserves the same punishment as what this woman should get.

      • Eathelbard

        Since “jack0” wants murder in response to theft, I figure he would buy in to knee capping with a baseball bat if he jaywalks. I would think he’d be all over that, bloodlusty coward that he seems to be.

        • jackactionhero

          Murder? No. I want a punishment that stops the behavior of the career criminal.

          Maybe you ARE one, and don’t want to be discovered, eh?

          Also, I don’t think bloodlusty is a word. Not sure…

  • Red

    Sorry- She is butt ugly. Throw the slammer at her

  • Don't leave valuables in your car!

    Great story with a good ending BUT, when will people STOP being so stupid as to leave their purses in their cars at public places?!??! I don’t care if it’s in the trunk or under a blanket, if you leave your purse with $200, gift cards, credit cards, etc. in your car when you’re not with it, you’re the idiot.

    • jean

      I guess that mean if you leave your house with your valuables in it your and idiot., LOL…it would help to not have your belonging in plan sight….close you window shade as well

    • Nate

      That wouldn’t have to be such an idiotic move if they’re weren’t idiots around to steal from folks.

      • Nate


  • The Gags

    Andy=PTSD……Pathetic Marine.

    • Crazy Joe

      Go Jack! Yaeh

    • wiggle


  • Kevin

    More WCCO whtie crime! Oh the agony…..

  • Deep Thinker

    I don’t get it. It says she has been convicted of various felonies. I can see one conviction but how can she be convicted of so many felonies & not serve major time. I love the 36 years old part….she looks like she’s 60….how old would she be in dog years? woof…woof

  • we

    LOOOOOSER LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • aethelbert

    Again, aimed at Jack0ff

    Man, this interface sucks

  • Bynska

    THAT is a woman????

  • Bill

    It’s only a couple of hundred bucks.

    It’s not like the hundreds of millions the Pohlads stole.

    Or that Ziggy the Pinhead is trying to steal.

  • CF

    Hmmmm, I wonder if these folks will get a discount on their taxes seeing as they did cops job for them. The PD, in all probability, figured there wasn’t a great deal of profit in going after petty criminals, not to mention all the paperwork & time involved, as compared to a simple traffic violation.
    Had my credit cards stolen a few years back. The cops wouldn’t even go to the local gas station the thieves bought gas at to check the surveillance camera, they said I wasn’t out anything so forget about it. I bet though if I had driven away without my seat belt on they would have been all over that……collecting taxes for the king.

  • Minneapolis News Stories for Jan 25 2012 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Minneapolis

    […] of the 2012 Legislative Session also saw the return to the Capitol of former Senate Leader Amy Koch.Charges: Woman, Husband Track Down Purse ThiefAn accused Mound, Minn. purse thief faces three felony charges after the victim and her husband […]

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