A purse theft is shown at a Scottsdale clinic on June 1, 2017. Envita Medical Center

An Iowa woman in Phoenix for the first time with her daughter for medical treatment was targeted by a purse thief at her treatment clinic last week.

Karen Cloyd, 48, and her daughter, Emilee, 13, were diagnosed with Lyme disease three years ago, according to Cloyd’s husband, James.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that gets transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick, according to WebMD. Common symptoms include joint and muscle pain, headaches, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

James Cloyd said they’ve tried “numerous treatments over the last few years with little to no success.”

Last winter, Cloyd said, his wife and daughter’s health worsened. He started doing extensive research, eventually finding a clinic in Arizona that offers an eight-week treatment for chronic Lyme disease cases.

MORE: Why 2017 may be a very bad year for Lyme disease

Cloyd said the treatment has had “tremendous success.”

He said the Scottsdale clinic is a friendly and open place because everyone there knows what each person is going through, which made the theft all the more surprising.

“You’d never worry about having something stolen,” Cloyd said.

But that’s exactly what happened on Thursday, according to a police report filed with the Scottsdale Police Department.

Scottsdale police said they don’t have any leads on a possible suspect. 

The medical center has made its surveillance video available to police.

Cloyd and his son were packing up their belongings after Karen and Emilee’s treatment, which can last anywhere between six and eight hours per weekday, he said.

They made multiple trips out to their car, with Cloyd leaving his wife’s purse and a book bag on a chair just outside the room in which she was receiving treatment. Cloyd said on one of the trips back from the car, a woman slipped in the back entrance behind them.

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Surveillance footage showed a woman snatching the purse while Cloyd was turned away to speak to his wife in the treatment room. The purse was only a few feet away from him when it was taken, Cloyd said.

The purse had his wife’s wallet and driver’s license, a blank checkbook and a pair of sunglasses, among other things.

But it’s not so much about the physical losses as it is the principle, according to Cloyd.

“The most disappointing thing is it’s such an open atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody’s sick and everybody’s just there trying to get better.”

Even though it put a wrench in their trip, Cloyd said there’s no ill will toward the thief. 

“I don’t hold any harm,” he said. “I forgive them for what they did. If they reached out and said ‘I need help,’ we would certainly help them.'” 

Cloyd said despite the incident they’ve been taken aback by the kindness and generosity of the people they’ve met in Arizona.

“This is the first time me and my wife have been down to Arizona,” he said. “We’ve fallen in love with the area and the people.”

Cloyd added the treatment results are looking promising for both his wife and daughter.

“We turned from hopeless to hopeful,” he said.

Includes information from Arizona Republic reporter Yihyun Jeong.


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