2 involved in purse, ID thefts plead guilty

Two people accused of traveling to the Augusta area to take part in a conspiracy that involved stealing purses, identity theft and bank fraud pleaded guilty Thursday.

Jessica R. Bryant, 34, and Jerrold D. Harrison, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. Dis­trict Court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

FBI Special Agent Paul Kubala outlined the operation uncovered by a joint investigation with Richmond and Columbia sheriff’s investigators.

The men targeted places where they suspected women might leave their purses in vehicles, such as parks and gyms. They would break in to get driver’s licenses, checkbooks and other forms of ID.

“Cashiers” such as Bryant, pretending to be one of the victims, would go to a bank with checks written on another victim’s account, Kubala said.

Also named in the 33-count indictment were John­ny A. Hodges, 40; Kimberly N. Brog­don, 28; and James J. Wood­ard, 33. The defendants lived in the Orlando and Fort Lauderdale areas in Florida.

Brogdon pleaded guilty earlier this year, Hodges pleaded not guilty, and Wood­ard is a fugitive.

Woman pleads guilty to role in organized ring of purse thieves

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