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Suspect charged in charity theft

Keway (click for larger version)
November 24, 2010 - Heather Keway, 27, of Waterford Township faces three credit-card fraud and probation violation charges in connection with a purse snatching, Nov. 4.

According to police reports, a pastor at Clarkston United Methodist Church left her purse on a chair near her office unattended for about an hour, 12-1 p.m. When she checked on it, it was gone.

A credit card was then used at area gas stations and stores to purchase about $500 in items.

The purse was found in a trash receptacle at Renaissance High School in Independence Township. When deputies called the purse's owner to claim it, she found a credit card, gift cards, and cash missing.

Investigation, which included examining videos of the suspect using the stolen credit card, as well as dumping the stolen purse, led detectives to Keway.

They called her to ask her to come to station, Nov. 17. She said she was sick, and was told by a doctor to stay in bed for 10 days. Deputies called her work and found she was scheduled, and arrested her as she drove up.

She told investigators she saw the purse sitting on the sidewalk, took it, removed some items, and threw the purse in the trash.

An aunt, who accompanied Keway to the church, told police they found the purse in the bushes.

Keway said she just wanted her family to have a nice Christmas, and said she would return items purchased with the credit card.

Lt. Dale LaBair, Independence Township Sheriff Substation commander, said it appears she took advantage of local charities, including Lighthouse Emergency Services.

"It's tough enough these days, helping out people in need, to have someone working the system," LaBair said. "It's not like we don't have people who really need help."

Keway was arraigned in 51 District Court on three counts of fraud, illegal use of credit card, and probation violation, $1,000 bond. She also has a warrant for larceny out of 52-2 District Court.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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