Police: Thieves struck during Funeral Mass

Susan Jones
Susan Jones
Posted: February 29, 2012

How low can you get?

Police have arrested a man and a woman and charged them with rifling a mourner's purse during a Funeral Mass in South Philadelphia on Tuesday.

According to police, Damon Cirino, 20, and Susan Jones, 22, walked into St. Rita's Church, 1166 S. Broad St., during a Funeral Mass about 10:40 a.m. and walked up the aisle during communion.

The pair did not receive communion and Jones even smirked at the priest, the victim told investigators.

When the victim returned to her pew, she saw Cirino and Jones sitting there with her purse between them, police said.

The 34-year-old woman took back her purse and asked for the pair to return her cellphone, police said. When Jones said she did not have it, the victim's husband dialed her cellphone and it rang inside Jones' bag.

The pair handed back the phone and left, but when the funeral director tried to stop them, Cirino intimated he had a gun in his pocket, officials said.

They left the church with the funeral director following, police said. The employee alerted a police officer and the pair were arrested at 5th and Reed Streets.

Cirino, of 5500 block of Pemberton Street in West Philadelphia, and Jones, of the 5300 block of Pulaski Avenue in Germantown, are charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy, terroristic threats and threats, police said.

Capt. Laurence Nodiff, commander of South Detectives, said the theft is a reminder for people to keep an eye on their belongings even in the sanctified precincts of a church.

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