The thefts both happened on Sunday at the Saint Pius X in Broomall and at Saint Laurence Church in Upper Darby.
"It's kind of unbelievable," said Anthony Logiurato. "It might have been some passing vagrant type person, desperate for drugs or something, and just walked into a church because people trust everybody at a church."
A Saint Laurence Church member reacts to the news of a purse snatching inside the Sanctuary during Sunday's noon mass.
A parishioner leaves her pocketbook in a pew as she goes to communion. An unknown woman makes her move.
Upper Darby Police Supt Michael Chitwood gives an unvarnished narrative.
"The individual walks in; I describe her as a dirtball, blond hair, 50's. According to the people in the church, you could smell the alcohol. She goes right into the pew, picks up the lady's handbag and takes off," describes Supt. Chitwood.
A half hour later, at a gas station a few miles up the road in Havertown, the victim's stolen debt card is used for fuel, and then a few doors away to order $34 worth of fast food.
But the munchies go unchecked. The would-be buying runs when asked to sign the receipt.
Late that afternoon at a different church in Broomall, the same crime was committed during communion.
Two unknown women are spotted, one of them described as a blond in her 50's.
"We do have one that fits almost the same description, and we are waiting for Upper Darby to transcribe the video here so that we can show our usher and the victim to see if this is in fact the same lady that Upper Darby is looking for."
An estimated $300 in cash and gift cards was taken in that second theft.
The hope is to assemble video from the two sources to hopefully give police an image of the thief and the car she was driving.