Bertha Presz is a 77-year-old grandmother who survived the Holocaust. So when she had her purse stolen at a Queens grocery store a couple weeks ago, it's no surprise she got through the incident just fine -- and then came back swinging. And she isn't just going after the crook that took off with her handbag; she's taking on the NYPD at the same time, too.
When a man stole her purse while she examined eggs at Brach’s Glatt Kosher Meat Market in Kew Gardens Hills on August 3, Presz did what we're all trained to -- she went to the police.
Even though the crook made off with her cell phone, bank cards, and around $150, officers said they couldn't really do anything. According to the New York Daily News, detectives filed her case under "lost property."
“They made us feel like idiots,” Presz’s daughter, Hindy Laster, told the paper. “The cop on duty said he understands it’s upsetting but that they were busy dealing with stabbings.”
That's when Presz decided to go after the thief herself. The septuagenarian recovered a copy of the store's surveillance video, reports CBS New York, and has been showing a still from the video to nearby stores, alerting them to his presence.
The family has also tracked Bertha's cell phone, narrowing it down to a location in Westbury, Long Island, reports MyFoxNY. At this point, she says, she doesn't even want the purse back; now she's in it for the retribution.
When WABC asked in an interview if Bertha had anything she'd like to tell the thief, the station reports she had some "choice words" not fit for TV, but she did note the thief "has a lot of chutzpah."
She's convinced the cops to upgrade her lost purse to an "active investigation." At this time, anyone with more information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com. The suspect in the investigation is a white man with a short haircut and receding hairline. He’s about 40 years old, 5-feet-9 and was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and blue shorts.