Woman Says Criminals Used Stolen Purse to Target Home

MATTHEWS, N.C. – “I never look at anybody who comes in here as, ‘Oh, they’re gonna hurt me.'” But now, she will. Last Thursday night, the South Charlotte Chef was alone in her Matthews restaurant, closing up, when a guy walked in, demanding a sandwich, even though she told him the kitchen was closed. She says, “I got nervous, so by the third time, I’m like, OK, let me go and make something.”

Instinct told Sandra Mannaravalappil something was off. From the kitchen, she says she watched him try to take an iPad register. Sandra left through the back door, to get help from the business next door. When she came back, the guy was gone and so was her purse.

And here’s where Sandra’s story takes a very scary turn. With her purse gone, Sandra got her husband to bring her a spare set of keys. While the couple was at the restaurant, filling out police paperwork and waiting for a locksmith, criminals went to their nearby Charlotte home, ransacked the place, stole stuff, including their TV and beat their dogs.

“People in a car can pull up, anytime they want, take everything like that and then go to my house and beat my dogs and steal some useless stuff? I’m really kinda pissed,” says Sandra.

She says it’s obvious: the guy who stole her purse, got her address off her IDs.

But Matthews Police aren’t willing to confirm that connection yet. Officer Tim Aycock says, “Right now, we just don’t have anything at this time that makes us believe it’s connected for sure.” WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty replied, “It’s definitely scary and weirdly coincidental.” He says, “Obviously, so that’s something we have to talk to Charlotte detectives and see what we can figure out.”

Sandra wants to get a gun. Her restaurant, a homey place filled with family photos and toys for her youngest customers, is a touchstone in the community. But she is rattled, and says it’s too soon to tell if she will stay open. She says, “We become part of people’s family,” and, “I’m part of people and they’re part of my lives.”

Matthews Police tells WCCB that in the last three months, there have been five robberies from business and 147 larcenies. Police say most of those larcenies are stolen clothes from retail stores.