A homeless woman was arrested Tuesday after video surveillance showed her stealing an employee’s purse at Ocala Regional Medical Center.
Leah Racquel Kelly, 26, was charged with grand theft, burglary of a conveyance and fraudulent use of a credit card (one time, less than $100). She’s being held in the Marion County Jail on $11,000 bond.
The victim told an Ocala Police officer that her light-colored, gray backpack-style bag was taken between 1 and 3 p.m. from the nurses station at the hospital, located at 1431 SW 1st Ave. The victim said the purse contained an Apple iPhone X in a magenta case, a Vera Bradley floral print wallet, her driver’s license, various cards, $7 in cash, hair clips, a Cannex and Blistex chapstick, a black Sharpie marker, a red pen and a yellow hair brush, according to the police report.
The victim said while she was processing a new patient, a woman later identified as Kelly stuck her head in the door and asked if her phone had been found in the room after the previous discharge of another patient. The victim said she directed Kelly to the front desk and continued working. At approximately 3 p.m., she noticed her purse was missing and found unauthorized charges on her bank account that showed her debit card was used at Advent Health, located at 1431 SW 1st Ave., the report said.
The officer talked to the front desk nurse that Kelly approached about the missing phone. The nurse said he asked other staff about the phone and was able to locate it near the heart monitor screen. He said he returned it to Kelly, according to the report.
The officer then observed the surveillance video, which showed the nurse handing Kelly the phone at approximately 2:37 p.m. The nurse then left the station and the video showed Kelly reach back through the doorway, grab the bag and leave the area, the report said.
Another officer located Kelly at Advent ER and saw her in possession of a bag that matched the description of the victim’s bag and contained many of the items that were listed as missing. Kelly said she had gone to ORMC to locate the phone that was left when she visited a patient, according to the report.
Kelly said the purse was hers and that she left it at ORMC and retrieved it along with the phone. She claimed to have owned the purse for some time and didn’t steal it. Kelly said she asked the nurse about the purse but he was pulled away to another call, so she grabbed it and left, the report said.
An OPD sergeant searched within a soiled linen bucket and found the iPhone and wallet. The wallet contained items belonging to the victim, including her driver’s license and various cards in her name, according to the report.
Kelly is scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Sept. 10.