Mom's purse swiped from her car at Forest Park Cemetery while tending to daughter's grave

Miya Shay Image
Friday, April 5, 2024
Grieving mom's purse stolen while she cleaned daughter's grave
Gabriella Mackin said her purse was stolen while she visited her daughter's Forest Park Cemetery gravesite. She said the thief has made purchases.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston mother who lost her daughter to cancer is now reeling after her purse was stolen while she was cleaning her loved one's grave.

On Wednesday night, Gabriella Mackin brought fresh flowers to her daughter Alessandra's grave at Forest Park Cemetery in southeast Houston. She could never imagine a stranger entering her parked car while cleaning the grave, stealing her purse, and running.

"Who would do that?" Mackin asked with tears in her eyes.

ABC13 met her at the gravesite a day later on Thursday. The flowers were still fresh, and so was her pain.

"(Alessandra) was a quadruplet, so our house is not the same without her," Mackin said.

The 24-year-old died last summer, and ever since then, Mackin has been a regular visitor to Forest Park Cemetery. On Wednesday at about 7 p.m., a woman drove up to Mackin's parked car, got her purse, and drove off.

"I always thought a cemetery would be one of the safest places. I never dreamed that, and there's never anyone here. I just felt completely safe here," Mackin said.

Mackin's car keys, wallet, and, most importantly, her late daughter's driver's license were inside the purse.

"That's the only thing I care about is her ID," Mackin said.

Within minutes, Mackin's credit card fraud alert pinged. The suspect was trying to buy gift cards at the Walgreens on South Wayside. She wore a bright orange shirt, had long braids, and is estimated to be in her mid-30s to early 40s. ABC13 was able to obtain a copy of the surveillance video.

"If you have any information, please call us or Crime Stoppers," Harris County Precinct 6 Sgt. Mauro Alvarado said. "You would want to believe it's an unusual crime, but unfortunately, it happens quite a bit. Just this year alone, our deputies have taken five or six reports from this location."

Precinct 6 urges anyone visiting a cemetery not to leave valuables in their car. Don't hide your purse; take it with you.

As for Mackin, she is angry yet still hopeful the suspect will be found.

"It's just the lowest individual, the lowest life possible, to steal from a grieving person at this cemetery," Mackin said.

As of Thursday evening, Mackin got another credit card alert. She believes the suspect tried to open a credit card in her name.

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