A mom and her childrenvisiting Philadelphia experienced a moment of panic Thursday, when a SEPTA rider snatched her purse containing her family's passports. But with the help of SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III, that family can rest easy.
Ximena Estrada, 35, and her 14-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter havebeen visiting family since June. The threehad taken the Route 58 bus through the Northeast Thursday, but when Estrada got off, she said she realized she had left her backpack on the bus, which contained her kids' passports, 6ABC reported.
"On Thursday, my trip turned into a nightmare and I was so sad," the Colombia native told the Philadelphia Inquirer."But when I got that phone call, it was like, wow. I felt so grateful, so grateful."
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On Saturday morning, Nestel announced that police would offer amnesty if the thief came forward with the stolen property by 5 p.m. Monday, explaining that the family is due to return home to Pereira, Colombia, Tuesday.
Sir, the bag you took has the passports of a family who was supposed to travel out of the country on Tue. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/RIVelzyT3Y— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) August 6, 2016
Amnesty offer: If you return the bag & contents to the Transit Police by 5pm on Monday, you will not be charged 2/2 pic.twitter.com/57ho4oQDnz— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) August 6, 2016
Authorities also released SEPTA surveillance images of the suspect grabbing the bag and getting off the bus at the Bustleton Avenue and Strahle Street stop in Rhawnhurst.
By Sunday morning, SEPTA's top cop tweeted that the offer had worked, and, as promised, the suspect wouldn't be arrested.
"I love being a police officer," Nestel tweeted along with a screenshot of a text message exchange between himself and Estrada after her family's passports were returned.
THE AMNESTY OFFER WORKED! The bag, passports and cell phone were returned last night. I stand by my offer - No arrest. Thanks for the help!— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) August 7, 2016
The text message sent to me by a very happy victim. I love being a police officer. pic.twitter.com/PA3AcJN1Mr— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) August 7, 2016