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Thief snatches elderly patient’s tote bag from hospital room

ALTON, Ill. – A low-down thief stole a woman's belongings from her hospital room in Alton. Surveillance cameras caught him in the act.

Alton police said the theft occurred at Alton Memorial Hospital. The victim is elderly; her family called Wednesday afternoon fearing someone had stolen her things, police said.

Investigators reviewed surveillance footage and found at least two clear photos of a man calmly walking through the hospital with the woman’s blue tote bag.

The suspect is a middle-aged African American male, police said. The photos show him wearing a New York Mets ball cap with a blue t-shirt and blue jean shorts.

The woman’s purse was in the bag, along with a gold cross necklace.

The suspect drove off in a maroon two-door car, with tinted windows, and the car’s clear coat peeling from the hood.

“In my opinion, it’s never ok to steal from anyone, but particularly someone who’s there to try to get help and try to make their life a little bit better,” said Alton Police Officer Emily Hejna. “You’re in the hospital because something has gone wrong. Let’s not make it worse for them.”

It was an isolated case and likely a crime of opportunity: the suspect perhaps walking by a room, noticing the patient was gone or asleep, and snatching the bag from a closet or drawer.

If you recognize the suspect or the car call Alton Police at 618-463-3505 (ext. 2). You can remain anonymous.