Stolen funeral cash victim: ‘They took all the money I had & left me a $1 bill’

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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) – A grieving man was on his way to pay for his sister’s funeral, but the money didn’t make it.

A second suspect was arrested Wednesday morning in a case involving $8,000 in cash stolen from an elderly man’s wallet, on Tuesday, after the man dropped it at a local gas station.

The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office says Christie Nicole Williamson and another suspect, Heather Worth, are facing felony theft charges.

Sheriff Armando Fontes says his investigators are working on getting surveillance footage of the suspects stealing cash from Morris Croley’s wallet.

“They did make some purchases and they clearly knew what they were doing. This is not a case of finding a lost wallet. This is a case of taking advantage of a senior citizen at a time when they were dealing with a horrible situation,” said Sheriff Fontes.

The Croleys were on their way from South Carolina to Kentucky.

“When you’re going somewhere and you have a loved one that’s passed away, and she didn’t have hardly nothing, it really hurt me. I knew I was going to have to pay for her funeral,” said Morris Croley.

Mr. Croley says his sister had been sick for some time and passed away Sunday night.

“When I travel, I put my wallet out of my back pocket and I put it between my legs so it doesn’t hurt my back,” Croley tells WATE 6 On Your Side.

There was $8,000 cash in Mr. Croley’s wallet, set aside for his sister’s funeral, when he stopped at the Exxon gas station in Newport.

“When I got out of the car, I must’ve slipped it outside and went inside the store. And when I came back, this woman told me that she seen two ladies in a car that was sitting there get my wallet. So, I went to talk to them and she [one of the suspects] said, ‘It’s under the car. Your pocket book is under the car.’ So, I picked up my pocket book and they took all the money I had and left me a $1 bill,” said Mr. Croley.

Mr. Croley says when he found out what happened it was soul-crushing but was glad to learn of the two suspects’ arrests.

“I’m elated. I’m elated. I just hope that they can bring back $10 of whatever they took, that’d be $10 that I wouldn’t have to do without,” he said.

Despite this crime, Mr. Croley says his sister’s funeral is still happening and their family is able to pay for services.

“I feel so sorry for those two girls,” he said. “I know they’re going to be in deep trouble and if I could help them I would, but I can’t.”

The Sheriff’s Office is working on returning Mr. Croley’s $8,000.

Sheriff Fontes says they’ve acquired a couple of cars used in this crime, if they have clear titles, Sheriff Fontes says he plans on asking the courts to seize the cars to sell at public auction, in order to give that money to the Croleys.

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