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Police: New Kensington woman and neighbors catch purse thief

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 4:48 p.m.
Luis Lema
Westmoreland County Prison
Luis Lema

A New Kensington woman and her neighbors weren't about to let a brazen thief make off with the woman's purse.

Instead, they chased the man from the woman's Fifth Avenue apartment, caught him and held him until police arrived.

Louis Lema, 27, who police say is homeless, was arrested Thursday and charged with burglary and theft.

District Judge Jason Buczak ordered Lema held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing.

The victim told police she was sitting on the couch inside her apartment at about 2 p.m. Thursday when the door to her apartment slowly opened. She said she saw a man take her purse from the kitchen table and start to leave.

That's when she and her neighbors pursued the man, still clutching the purse, from the apartment to Industrial Boulevard.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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