Stuart police say a woman pretended to be a Good Samaritan, then stole an elderly victim's purse

82-year-old Patricia Oldford was knocked down

STUART, Fla. - Billy Johnson's job at the Treasure Coast Hospice Thrift Shop has always been calm. That is, until Monday.

Just as he was about to close the store, a woman, whom police identified as 31-year-old Heather Scherrer, came running inside.

"She swung open the door and said a woman had fallen out here," recalled Johnson. "So I ran straight across the street with her, and the woman was lying on the ground next to some bushes. "

Stuart police say Scherrer had knocked down 82-year-old Patricia Oldford of Stuart.

"(Oldford) started to yell that she had a purse, and I didn't see a purse," said Johnson. "All I saw was a bag from what she was just shopping from. "

Johnson said something didn't feel right when he saw Scherrer allegedly running away, but he was more concerned about Oldford's condition. Oldford had been left bleeding on the concrete.

"I wasn't sure if I should get (Oldford) up or not, but I was able to walk her to the door and bring her inside," he said.

Police arrested Scherrer after a neighbor identified her through a surveillance photo, taken from the Walgreens next door to the thrift shop.  

Scherrer is charged with robbery by sudden snatching, and battery on an elderly person.

Oldford said she is healing from her bruises. Police have returned her stolen purse, with everything except the $200 cash she had at the time.

As for Johnson, he's learned to trust his instincts, but he wouldn't have done anything differently.

"Saw the lady hurt, and I didn't even think the other lady had caused it in the first place," said Johnson. "But once she was gone, I just focused on the victim and tried to help her out as best as I could. "


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