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Elderly Uniontown woman robbed of purse, injured in attack outside Wal-Mart

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County woman had just purchased candles for a birthday party and Easter candy for her grandchildren on Friday when she was brutally attacked outside a Wal-Mart store and robbed of her purse, according to one of her daughters.

Mary Margaret Yourchik, 82, of Uniontown was knocked to the pavement at 1:10 p.m. as she walked to her vehicle in a handicapped-accessible spot at the South Union store, according to state police.

“Mom was fighting with her (attacker), saying, ‘You're not going to take my purse,'” her daughter, Kathy Yourchik of Uniontown, said Tuesday. “The girl said, ‘Yes, I am,' and she shoved her and kicked her.”

Mary Yourchik was taken to Uniontown Hospital, where doctors performed surgery to repair three breaks to her right hip, said her daughter.

She remains hospitalized and faces a long recovery because she must learn how to walk again.

“They robbed her not only of her purse, but of her independence,” Kathy Yourchik said.

Before the attack, her mother took care of her own needs, including driving herself to the store and doctor's appointments. “A lot of people are affected by this one stupid act,” her daughter said.

Police described the attacker as a white woman who was driving a white Honda sedan.

Trooper Stefani Plume said investigators have identified a “person of interest” and are seeking to interview the woman and several others who may have been involved.

“I am confident that an arrest will be made in the case,” Plume said.

Mary Yourchik had been on her own since the death of her husband, Joseph, in August 2011. He taught social studies and driver's education for 32 years at Uniontown Area Senior High School. He played on the football and wrestling teams at Waynesburg University after serving as a military police officer in the Army during the Korean War and continued to coach both sports at Uniontown High. He was a member of the coaching staff in 1962, when Uniontown's football team won the WPIAL championship.

The couple, members of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, were married for 56 years. Mary Yourchik is the mother of four children, and she has eight grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

She is a very giving homemaker who donates food to the soup kitchen and clothing to charities, her daughter said.

Mary Yourchik drove herself to Pittsburgh when her husband was hospitalized, and she enjoyed driving to Dayton, Ohio, to visit her sister-in-law.

Kathy Yourchik was at work in the Fayette County Prothonotary's Office when an unidentified woman who helped her mother after the attack came to break the bad news to the daughter.

Kathy Yourchik said she has a message for her mother's assailant: “Quit preying on innocent, helpless people.”

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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