"Property crimes themselves are typically hard for victims to deal with, especially when identity theft and fraud are involved," said Deputy Mark Gregory in a news release on Friday. "But the fact these criminals took advantage of such a tragic situation is particularly heinous."
Authorities say the purse was stolen Wednesday morning as parents converged on Freeman High School in Rockford, where a gunman had opened fire, killing one student and injuring three others. Fifteen-year-old Caleb Sharpe has been arrested in the shooting but has yet to make an appearance in juvenile court.
A two-lane road into the town of about 500 people near the Idaho border was clogged as worried parents sped to the school. Some people abandoned their cars on the street to make it to their children, and Gregory said someone "stole a purse hastily left behind by a worried parent."
Gregory said the fraudulent charges came from cashed checks and stolen credit cards. The sheriff's office released three photos. One showed a woman shopping with sunglasses on top of her head. A second showed a woman dressed in different clothes pushing a cart and wearing a baseball cap with sunglasses on top of the hat. A third photo was a grainy image of a white passenger car in a parking lot.