Coaldale police credit a Good Samaritan for helping them recover money stolen from an elderly woman.
Brianna Koschak, 20, of 307 E. Ridge Terrace, Coaldale, is charged with theft and jailed under $5,000 straight cash bail for stealing $114 from the victim.
Police say Koschak told them she stole the cash to buy cigarettes.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:
At about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Officer Jeremy Talanca was alerted to a possible theft by Mike Tessitore, who was delivering a medicine order to the victim from a Lansford pharmacy. Police went to the victim's home, and she told them that Koschak had stopped to visit her, along with Koschak's boyfriend and their newborn baby.
The victim knew Koschak because Koschak's mother had done cleaning for her, police said.
While they chatted on the front porch the victim told police Koschak asked to use the bathroom. While inside the house she found the elderly woman's purse and took the money from it.
Koschak went back outside. At about the same time Tessitore arrived with the medications. When the victim got her purse to pay him she found the money gone. Koschak and her boyfriend, with the infant, had fled.
Tessitore immediately notified police.
Police tracked Koschak down at her house and arrested her. Police are in touch with Schuylkill County Children and Youth Services agency to determine who will care for the baby who was left with Koschak's boyfriend.
Chief Tim Delaney praised Tessitore for his quick thinking.
"If it wasn't for him, this woman would never have gotten her money back," he said.