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Fair worker, daughter charged with theft of purse

| Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 11:05 p.m.

A carnival game operator at the Westmoreland Fair and her daughter were charged with stealing a designer purse from a patron on Sunday.

Darlene Carol Kelleher, 51, and her daughter, Gabrielle G. Crews, 22, both of the Mt. Washington section of Pittsburgh, were arraigned on Monday on charges of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.

Crews drew an additional charge of escape because she allegedly slipped out of her handcuffs and tried to flee the state police barracks in Greensburg as charges against her were being processed.

The theft was discovered just before 7 p.m. Sunday on the fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant Township.

The victim left her Kate Spade purse, valued at $520 including its contents, with Kelleher as she played a dart game, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper James McCutcheon,

When the victim realized she had forgotten to collect her purse when she left the carnival booth, she went back to Kelleher, who claimed she had turned it over to the lost and found office at the fairgrounds.

But Kelleher had given the purse to Crews, who was at the fairgrounds, and told her to put it in her vehicle, state police allege in the affidavit.

“Crews couldn't find her mother's car, so she took it to her own car,” McCutcheon wrote.

Fair security officers discovered Crews with the purse inside her vehicle and contacted state police, according to the affidavit.

“While Crews was in the back seat of the patrol car, she hid a stolen credit card and a rewards card, both belonging to the victim, down under the seat of the patrol cruiser,” McCutcheon wrote.

Fair officials declined comment on the arrests because the criminal cases are pending.

Kelleher was ordered held in the county prison after failing to post $15,000 bond, and Crews is being held in lieu of $5,000 bond.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled on Aug. 29 before Norvelt District Judge Roger Eckels.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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