Police: Another Woman Murdered During Purse Snatching

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Police: Another Woman Murdered During Purse Snatching

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West Philadelphia -


"She was a good person, everybody loved her."

For the family of 29 year old Melissa Thomas  there was nothing but pain and questions over why she was gunned down outside this West Philadelphia bar. Police say was yet another purse snatching incident turned deadly.

"Somebody knows something. All we want to know is what happened,"  Lauretta Thomas, the victim's sister, told Fox 29.

Thomas was leaving the bar with a female friend when two men in hoodies and masks approached and announced a robbery. As one of the women turned over her purse, Thomas was shot twice in the chest. She died at the scene. The second woman was shot running away.

"If you wanna rob, as they say give it up, why do you have to kill them," Thomas said.

"They're cowards and that's what they do," neighbor Nadine Neal said as she wiped tears away. .

Two weeks ago, 26 yr old Amber Long was gunned down in front of her mother during a purse snatching in Northern Liberties. That case is unsolved. Friday, police say a young woman's boyfriend was shot after two suspects robbed her purse and he chased the robbers. There have also been several knife point purse robberies in Overbrook.

"Get a heart, get a heart , stop it, stop going around taking people's pocketbooks , killing em for their pocketbooks. She didn't even carry a pocketbook," said Anita Moses, the victim's aunt.


"It's just scary and I'm just hurt and can't stop crying," Neal added.

Neighbors say a police surveillance camera at 53rd and Market, just a few feet from where thomas was killed is not operating. Police were unable to verify that Sunday.

"Those cameras need to be working, that way something that happened now wouldn't happen again," Moses explained..

Neal had a word of advice for women in Philadelphia.

"Stop carrying pocketbooks,  because they're gonna keep killing, gonna keep doing it. Things aren't getting better they're getting worse," she said..

Police are looking for private surveillance video near the scene and interviewing witnesses.   There is a $20,000 reward in this case. A $37,000 reward in Aber Long's murder.

Anyone with information should contact detectives at the homicide unit. 

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