Police in Lawrence, Massachusetts, have arrested a man who allegedly stole the purse of an 80-year-old woman as she was cleaning up her late veteran husband’s grave site ahead of Memorial Day, PEOPLE confirms.
A statement from investigators alleges Anne Ogden was tending to her husband’s grave at St. Mary-Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence on Tuesday morning when Christopher Ansara, 32, approached her and snatched her purse, which she had left on the ground behind her.
PEOPLE was unable to reach Ogden, who told CBS Boston she has been going to the cemetery to visit her grandmother for nearly 76 years, and that she always tends the geraniums she has planted at her grandmother’s and her husband’s burial plots.
“I haven’t missed a year, and this was the first year I had a problem, and I always went alone,” Ogden told the news station.
She said that Ansara grabbed her purse, and she pleaded with him to just take the cash and leave.
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Inside her purse was almost $1000, the station reports, as she had visited the bank before driving to St. Mary-Immaculate Conception Cemetery.
According to the CBS Boston interview, Ogden was most upset about three $20 bills she had in her bag, one of which was a note she had taken took from her deceased husband’s wallet soon after he passed.
“I took $20 dollars out. I did the same with my mother, my aunt Julie and my godmother Anna,” Ogden said. “I felt they’ll always be with me, that’s what I wanted back.”
The police statement alleges Ansara confessed to stealing the purse, which was recovered but without the cash.
Ogden said she doubts she’ll return to the cemetery alone ever again.
“I’ve had a good life until this … what are you going to do?,” she said.
Ansara has been charged with larceny. It was unclear Friday if he has entered a plea to the sole count against him. He does not yet have an attorney, according to court records.