CAMARILLO : Victim Reclaims $700 Thief Missed

A 98-year-old Camarillo woman whose purse had been snatched reclaimed her stolen cash and purse after two gardeners discovered the $700 in the bushes of a Camarillo park.

“It’s kind of like a little Christmas miracle,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Detective Keith Parks.

Leona Lee’s purse was snatched last month, shortly after she’d cashed some checks near the Camarillo Shopping Center. The bank teller had placed seven $100 bills in an envelope and Lee stuffed some remaining cash in her wallet. The thief apparently scavenged only the wallet and abandoned her purse without finding the envelope, Parks said.

On Tuesday, Ishmael Lopez and Jerry Cline, employees of the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District, found the items while working at Charter Oak Park and took them to the sheriff’s station in Camarillo.


“And an hour later it was back to the woman it was taken from,” Parks said. “The tears just welled up in her eyes.”

Lee rewarded the two men with $50 each.