Purse containing $10K in cash for teen's college tuition stolen from Dunkin' Donuts

- Police are looking for a woman they say stole a purse containing $10,000 that was going to be used to pay for a local student’s college tuition.

The theft allegedly happened on January 10 at a Falls Church Dunkin’ Donuts in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard.

A woman and her 18-year-old daughter stopped by the store for breakfast around 11:50 a.m. before making the road trip to girl's university -- Penn State. They left the store, and almost immediately realized that the girl’s purse, which contained $10,000 in cash, was left behind. When they returned to the store, they found that the purse and the cash inside were missing.

In the surveillance video released by the Fairfax County police, you can see the purse catches the eye of the suspect. She walks over and checks out her surroundings. Finally, she makes a move and swipes the bag. She then leaves in a dark-colored SUV parked outside.

The vehicle is believed to be a 2009 to 2011 Mitsubishi Endeavor.

“It never crossed my mind that this could happen,” said victim Maria Esteves.

Esteves and her daughter, Liliana, said they were only gone for five or six minutes before realizing they forgot the purse.

“We got back and the bag was not there,” Esteves said. “I could not believe it. At first, I thought it was a joke and my daughter kept looking at the ceiling saying they have cameras.”

“This woman is trying to put her kids through college and we feel for her,” said Fairfax County Police Officer Tawny Wright.

The suspect is described as a white female with a medium build, between 30 and 40-years-old and about 5 feet 7 inches tall. The woman has long, brown hair and wore a light-colored jacket and dark-colored pants.

“Whether she knew that there was a large amount of cash in there or not, we don't know,” said Officer Wright. “Our goal now is to identify who the suspect is and move forward with charges and let the court work everything out.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), e-mail at http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

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