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.

Comments (24)
  1. Hater of Motten says:

    I find it funny that if you take the R from her first name and put in place in her last name you get ROTTEN. And what this filth did is ROTTEN.

  2. rick perry says:

    Send her to Texas,we still have a month to go before we execute anyone!

  3. Chrissy says:

    She went to the store to apply for a job and robbed an elderly customer instead?? Wow, really?

    1. CJMK says:

      One word…MORON.

  4. Pate says:

    Fat chance of getting a job now,dummy.

  5. TL the alligator says:

    ironically, the southside of chicago has many respectable decent black folks as well as their fair share of violent predators as every city does.

    1. Scott Alan says:

      Let’s check percentage of prior arrests randomly. Never mind, That would be racist. Bout half? Like in Minneapolis or Hennepin County. You don’t think half? Pity. Every city? Ha ha ha ha ha ha Every sewer run by the ultra right. I mean ultra left. Sorry.

  6. jean says:

    supper nice , that convenience store had good surveillance cameras St. Paul Police quickly started the investigation and persistence Great job all in all, I am Happy for Harvey :)..Don’t you just love surveillance cameras !!!

    1. Scott Alan says:

      Cameras are like the police. Neither can prevent crime. Nice for prosecution however. After the crime is over and the dispatcher is called and the radio car gets the call and after they drive over and get out and lock the car and walk up to the door and knock.. Waaaay after.

  7. jean says:

    yes kevin,… and so many whites too, like the man in black –so many banks, lol, banks should have better and more surveillance cameras

    1. mike says:

      Well it’s just like her and the others, “they’re thugs of choice!”

      1. jean says:

        mike what are you talking about, do you know what i was saying? Its not about the color of skns ,,, its about choices and right / wrong… black/white ……people steal …true… some people just make bad choices more than others.. this gal make more than most do….. but I am still very happy for Harvey..:)

        1. Scott Alan says:

          Go to a prison, open any door. Note the faces of the prisoners. Never mind. There’s no unspoken problem needing help.

        2. Todd says:

          How true Jean. There are 2 type of people regardless of race, religion, etc. A**holes and non-A**holes. I have met both breeds in every size, color, income…you name it.

    2. jean says:

      now kevin take you meds..please behave,, you do understand insults are unnecessary ,and that you are not God, this mean you know nothing, Your angry white boy/man, and you hate so many races and cultures kevin did you have a real statement in mind when you said or what ?

      1. geeze wake up says:

        @ean, are you for real? Angry white boy is not name calling and a insult? I would hardly call robbing a 91 year old man just a “bad choice.”

  8. Kelly says:

    She should be on world’s dumbest criminals. Somebody should start a collection for him since most of the elderly is on a fixed income.

  9. Calling it the way I see it says:

    Probably a World War II vet as well. What a great way to say thanks. This piece of filth needs to be dealt with and made an example of. Sick and tired of these crimes becoming more of a status symbol in their ‘communities”

    What a Joke!

  10. hunnybear18 says:

    Who cares what really happened or what drove her to it? She victimized a vulnerable old man who probably did more for his world before he was 30 than this waste will ever do in her miserable life. I have gone without a lot of things in my life, even food sometimes and not once did I decide that I was entitled to the belongings of someone else. She made that choice. I don’t care what color she is. The fact she would do this to an old man makes her a loser.

    By the looks of her criminal record, she also at one time thought she was entitled to leave the scene of an accident where someone was hurt. Real high class gal.

  11. sue says:

    And how many white girls do you know named Renesha? Doesn’t matter if she’s black or white. If she came from Chicago, I agree, send her back. If her name is Abdula, send her back wherever she came from too. The point is that she is definitely a predator and should be treated as such. She took advantage of a vulnerable elderly person. She has not been taught to respect the elderly not basic moral values. Her parents/guardians should be sent back with her. After she spends some time in prison!

  12. jean says:

    her picture was on wcco ,and so that a clue,I guess they pulled it

  13. Alberta Lerwick says:

    Mr. Prochnow, I cried when I first heard this story. I am so happy you have gotten your wallet back and the things that mean so much to you, albeit, minus the money. Three cheers to the convenience store for having a great surveillence system and to the police for getting your wallet back to you. You are a top notch man. Thank you for your service. Hopefully some people, including Ms. Motten, will think twice before committing this type of crime. I’m hoping 2012 is a much better year for you than the end of 2011 was!!!

  14. LetsStandUpForOthers says:

    I am SO glad that Mr. Prochnow got his wallet back, but it figures without the money. The article says he was there to apply for a job, does anyone know if it’s because he needs to work or if he just wants something to do during the day? If it’s because he needs the work, how can we set up a fund to help him out? I would be honored to help Mr. Prochnow anyway I can.

    1. em0886 says:

      Read it thoroughly; the criminal was looking for a job apparently.

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