Man accused of stealing purse from good Samaritan - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Man accused of stealing purse from good Samaritan who stopped to help

Debra Moorefield Debra Moorefield
James Nance James Nance

It's not everyday you meet people like Debra Moorefield, someone who will go out of her way to help complete strangers.

"I will stop on the side of the road and help people that's got a flat. If they need something or ask can you carry me somewhere," she said.

But, after Thursday night, she says all that is all going to change after a man took her kindness for weakness.

"He said can you boost me off? I said, yeah, I can boost you off," Moorefield said.

She said she was at a gas station when 29-year-old James Nance approached her for a favor around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. She let him get in her truck and gave him a ride to his car, parked next door at Newell's Bar. She then got out her jumper cables.

"He says, well get in my car and try to start it. That right there should've been my flag. You get in your own car and try to start it," she said.

She ignored the warning signs, thinking Nance was clean cut and trustworthy, that maybe he'd just had a rough night.

"I thought maybe he was an Army boy, that's why I helped," Moorefield said.

But when she got home and reached for her purse, she quickly realized Nance was actually a cunning thief.

"He stole my purse. Everything's in it. The only thing I was really worried about was my driver's license, my Social Security card and my husband's checkbook," Moorefield said.

Police found Nance in the parking lot of the Holiday House senior retirement community with Moorefield's checks inside. In just a few hours, police say he had already broken into four different cars in the lot.

"He's got a history of doing stuff like this," said Det. David Joyce with the Springfield Police Department.

Police say Nance is connected to thefts dating back to June 20.

"He also got into one vehicle and cut the battery out," Joyce said.

Moorefield sees this as a sad wakeup call.

"I just thought he was a drunk and he needed his car boosted off. I has no idea he was going to steal my purse," she said.

Moorefield said her kind and giving spirit will now have to be way more guarded.

"I'm sorry, you know. One bad apple spoiled my whole bunch,"she said.

Nance is charged with nine different crimes, including theft and public intoxication, all stemming from his run Thursday night. He is being held at the Robertson County jail.

As for Moorefield, she got her purse back on Friday after a good Samaritan found it thrown out beside a bank. She says this renewed her faith that there are still good, honest people out there willing to help.

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