Officials seek woman who stole purse as elderly crash victim lay paralyzed and dying

RIVERSIDE — Authorities are asking for the public’s help identifying and locating a woman they say climbed into a wrecked car and snatched an elderly victim’s purse, even as the crash victim lay inside her vehicle, paralyzed from the neck down from her injuries.

The elderly victim, identified recently by coroner officials as Terri Nelson, of Perris, later died from her injuries and her husband is now left dealing not only with the loss of his wife, but the theft and use of his deceased wife’s credit cards and name.


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According to Riverside PD, after the alleged suspect stole the dying woman’s purse in the aftermath of the Aug. 8 crash, she used the victim’s credit cards and personal information to make purchases throughout the Riverside area as well as to rent a vehicle in the deceased victim’s name. Officials later recovered that vehicle, a Nissan Rogue, in the San Diego area.

“This female was seen driving the vehicle and making in-store purchases with the victim’s credit card,” Riverside PD Economic Crimes Detective George Anderson said in a social media release earlier today that included images of the alleged suspect using the deceased woman’s credit cards.

The alleged suspect stands about 5’0″ tall, with red or brown hair, and has a number of distinctive tattoos (pictured in attached flier below) and officials are hoping those tattoos and photos of the woman will help lead to her apprehension. Anderson described some of the woman’s visible tattoos as one on her upper back between her shoulder blades, another with a star in the middle on her right calf, and a third on the inside of her right forearm.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who recognizes the alleged suspect and knows her whereabouts is encouraged to immediately contact Riverside Police Detective George Anderson at (951) 353-7116 or by email.


Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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