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'I WANT my purse' page 2
Westmoreland County woman uses technology-and guts-to get back her stolen purse

 Deborah Lamb and her sister-in-law tracked down her purse after it was stolen from a Fairfax theater.
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Date published: 7/31/2012



Lamb called to report the stolen purse after watching "Your Sister's Sister" at the Cinema Arts Theatre on Main Street in Fairfax.

She and Moore told theater workers that a white man in his 40s, who had graying hair on his temples and was wearing a pink shirt, sat by them that night.

Lamb thought it was odd when he came to her row. There were only five or six people in the whole place. And, she said, "The movie was a total chick flick."

She usually wraps the straps of her purse around her leg, but she didn't have room to do that because she had a jumbo container of popcorn and a large drink.

"I was living reckless here," she joked.

She didn't want her purse on the sticky floor so she set it on the seat beside her.

There were two empty seats between her purse and the man in pink.

When Lamb visited the bathroom after the movie and realized she didn't have her purse, she searched the seat and row where she sat, then alerted theater workers.

A young man told her he'd seen a man, wearing pink, running out of the theater.


Lamb called the Fairfax City Police. Then she followed her training as a police officer and started searching trash cans in case the thief grabbed the cash and cards and dumped the rest.

In the meantime, Moore retrieved her iPad because she knew Lamb had installed the "Find My iPhone" app on her device.

The women plugged in Lamb's data, and a map showed up, with a blue circle hovering over where her phone was.

Both showed that to the police officers and asked if they'd go with the women to retrieve it. Lamb said they told her they couldn't enter a building without a search warrant. And because the area contained apartment buildings, the police said it would be too many doors to knock on, Lamb said.

When the blue circle crossed into Fairfax County, the officer said that wasn't his jurisdiction.

Lamb explained she'd worked for Fairfax County Police decades earlier, in administration and occasionally on undercover assignments. She asked if the officers could call dispatchers in the next jurisdiction and get help, and she said they said no.

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