Purse thief ID'd

With help from the public, the pregnant woman who stole a $1500 purse from a La Cañada store has been identified and interviewed by detectives at Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station.

Amina Hoque, 36, of Highland Park admitted to taking the purse from Frockx on May 30 and returning it a few days later, according to Det. Rodger Burt.

“She said she hadn't gone in there with the intent to take it but just wanted the bag,” Burt said.

Surveillance video shows Hoque, in the last stage of pregnancy, entering Frockx, shopping for a while and placing the Mark Jacobs designer bag near the front door. She purchased a child's sundress and perfume from store owner Joanna Nelson and asked her to gift wrap them. Hoque then exited the store, saying she needed to retrieve more money from her car, then returned and chatted with Nelson leaving the front door open.

The tape shows Hoque picking up the purse, walking out and then returning to pick up and pay for her gift wrapped items.

Nelson noticed the purse was missing not long after the suspect left the store.

“I was shocked,” Nelson said at the time.

She and Hoque had a lengthy and pleasant conversation about motherhood and the La Cañada community.

Nelson sells the purses on consignment and was responsible for the $1500. She had also pledged a percentage of that day's sales to the La Cañada school district and was honoring that promise, which meant even more money out of her business.

Then, on June 3, Nelson was surprised to find the stolen purse in brown grocery bag on the store's back porch. There was a note in the purse apologizing for having taken it.

Hoque gave birth shortly after she returned the purse. She was holding her newborn as Burt interviewed her. “[Hoque] said she felt bad that she had stolen the purse and returned it,” Burt said.

Burt said they had received several calls from the public identifying Hoque as the woman on the surveillance pictures released to the media.

Hoque has a prior conviction from a 1995 petty theft case. She will be charged with grand theft for stealing the purse from Frockx.


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