It was a chaotic scene.
Judy Crumet was trying to process the fact someone had stolen her wallet Saturday evening from her shopping cart and ran out of Dillons, 1015 W. 23rd St.
Crumet thought she would have to give back the groceries she had already purchased, but a clerk handed her a receipt. An anonymous woman had paid cash — $63.18 — for her groceries as Crumet was giving a statement to police officers.
“I was totally floored,” Crumet said Monday, “because I have no idea who it was.”
The act of the anonymous Good Samaritan wasn’t the only part of the story with a happy ending. Several Dillons employees followed the female suspect out of the store and saw her go into a nearby apartment building.
The incident started about 5:40 p.m., Crumet said, when the woman reached into her purse and stole her wallet in a split second as she was reaching for something in a freezer.
“Even if you think you’re being careful with your purse, make sure you be a little more careful,” Crumet said. “I would have sworn I would be the last person that would ever happen to.”
Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman, said several witnesses followed the suspect into the 2300 block of Alabama Street where she entered an apartment, and officers later arrested the 21-year-old suspect, recovered the wallet and returned it to Crumet. Prosecutors filed charges of misdemeanor theft, criminal trespassing and drug possession Monday against the suspect, Treasure K. Terrell.
Crumet said she was overwhelmed by the work of the police officers and Dillons employees who helped her. But she wanted to do one more thing to thank the anonymous stranger who paid for her groceries.
On Monday Crumet, a teller supervisor at Capitol Federal, 1046 Vt., donated a $63.18 check to the Relay for Life campaign in her office.
“I thought that would be a great place for it. I just want something said so that woman knows how much it meant to me.” Crumet said. “I’m a firm believer in paying it forward, and I hope that somebody would take heed from that.”