POLICE: Daycare thieves identified, on the run
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police say they have now identified the couple accused of stealing from local daycares by pretending to be parents.
St. Matthews Police say 28-year-old Tamera Jenkins and 45-year-old Duane Acklin have been visiting child care centers in Louisville, pretending to be parents in order to snatch purses and steal cash.
The lead detective in the case tells WDRB that she had Jenkins on the phone Wednesday morning, who told police she and Acklin had an attorney and would turn themselves in.
But Det. Barbara Shepard says service to Jenkins' cell phone was later cut off, leading her to believe the suspects are on the run.
Since WDRB's story first aired Tuesday night, more victims have come forward saying the couple stole from them as well.
"I saw a couple headed towards the door and my first instinct was they needed help, so I went out the door and said 'Hi can I help you?' and that's when they bolted," said Mardi Galvin, who works at St. Matthews Episcopal Church's preschool.
"That was my purse, my personal possession. How dare you? And how dare you do it in a church?" said Galvin. "They ended up getting some cash, not much. Inside my purse were statements and bills and my identification."
Even though the couple got away with her purse, Galvin later realized they didn't get what they were after.
"The joke was on them. Not only did I chase them and try to catch them, but my wallet was sitting outside of my purse and they didn't get that."
The act is down pat: Police say Jenkins and Acklin visit daycares asking for a tour, saying they want to enroll their toddler. Then, they create a distraction and take any wallets they can find.
"If they would have just come in here and asked for help, we probably could have helped them and been done with it," Galvin said.
Police say they believe Jenkins and Acklin have been stealing from daycares for a few months now. They both have previous police records and Jenkins now has two active warrants out for her arrest.
Police say they planned to turn themselves in Wednesday but they never showed.
"I briefly had a conversation with Tamera earlier. Basically her comment was 'I'm going to get with my attorney and I'll come in and I'll talk to you' and unfortunately, all communication has been cut off," Det. Shepard said.
Family members say the couple may have fled to Cincinnati, and are driving a 1998 green Ford Mustang with license plate number 782PAB.
Anyone with information is asked to call St. Matthews Police at 893-9000 or the LMPD police tipline at 574-LMPD.
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