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June 18, 2014

Woman preys on the grieving, stealing purses during funeral visitation

Imagine going to a funeral, finding a seat and setting down your purse. As you mix and mingle with the grieving family at the funeral and church services, someone steals your purse.

Too horrible to think about?  Yes. But it is  true. Twice a Clarksville woman with a previous charge of stealing from her employer has been charged with stealing purses from Sykes Funeral Home.


DIane Mullins

Paula Diane Mullens, 49, of 161 Village Way, is charged with of stealing two purses during a June 4 visitation at Sykes Funeral Home.  Her bond was set at $80,750.

One of the victims said she put her purse down during the viewing, and when she went to retrieve it, it was gone. According to a warrant, the purse contained her driver’s license, bank card, a gun permit and about $20 cash.

On the same day, a second woman calling at Sykes  set her purse down for the viewing and returned to find it had been stolen. That woman said her purse had her driver’s license, Social Security card, bank card, iPhone and $120 cash.

On the next day, a third woman reported her purse stolen from a different funeral home – Neal-Tarpley-Parchman – in the same manner. She had $1,600 cash, a cell phone, driver’s license and her Social Security card in the purse. During the investigation, a witness identified as “Diane”  was identified from a photo lineup.

On June 6, Mullens allegedly took a woman’s wallet while attending a service at Hilldale Church of Christ.

The unidentified woman said she went into the kitchen and momentarily left her purse on a table. Her clutch wallet, containing  four credit cards, a debit card, insurance card, student identification, checkbook, driver’s license and approximately $52 in cash, was taken.

On June 16, Mullens admitted taking the property of the four women.  Mullens took a total of about $1,790 cash out of the four purses.

Her prior record includes a July, 2013 guilty plea to theft of less than $5,000 and was ordered to pay restitution to the Madison Street Walmart.

She also has a case pending in Circuit Court for allegedly taking products from Mulligan’s Wine and Spirits.

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