BENNINGTON -- What began with a purse stolen from a shopping cart ended in a woman admitting to other thefts from cars at the Manchester Post Office, including one where a purse containing about $1,500 was taken from an unlocked vehicle.

Mackenzie Rybicki, 24, of Dorset, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony count of grand larceny, and four misdemeanor counts of petit larceny. She was released on conditions she not have contact with Francis Prus, 23, who was mentioned in the affidavit as being involved however this is no record in court of him being cited for any charges.

According to an affidavit by Manchester Police Sgt. Patrick J. Owens, on Oct. 29 he was dispatched to Shaw's on Equinox Terrace Road where a woman said her wallet had been taken out of her purse which was in her shopping cart. Another customer found the wallet in the parking lot, missing $25.

Owens went searching for a male in a silver car, which he learned of from talking to the woman and a store employee. This was at 10:50 a.m. and about 40 minutes later, a purse was reported stolen from a car parked at the Post Office on Richville Road. The woman who reported the theft said her husband was following the silver vehicle they believed was involved.

The vehicle was ultimately stopped in Brunswick, N.Y., at 1 p.m. by the Rensselear County Sheriff's Department. According to the deputies, the occupants in the vehicle admitted to taking the purse and throwing it in the bushes after removing $20 in cash and a $10 roll of quarters.


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According to the affidavit, Rybicki and Prus were charged with possession of stolen property in New York, while Rybicki received added charges of possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

On Oct. 31, Rybicki and Prus voluntarily went to the Manchester Police Department. Rybicki told police she has been battling a drug addiction for the past eight years, and was clean for the past year but recently had a relapse. She admitted to the purse and wallet thefts, saying Prus put the money in his wallet.

Rybicki told police she and Prus took other purses from car at the Post Office, including one that contained about $1,500. The vehicle the purse was in had been left unlocked.

Police matched this to a theft reported in September.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.