Thieves invade 'handbag heaven'

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By The Staff

It all started with a purse.

A very, very expensive purse named “Stevie.”

No, really, I’m serious. The very, very expensive purse’s name - or its design rather - was “Stevie.”

So, obviously, it was the perfect gift for my twin sister to surprise me with on our 30th birthday. You see, I had never been the “expensive purse” type. Give me a cheap handbag from one of our local department stores (or should I say our only department store) and I was good to go. That is, before I was introduced to “Stevie.”

Until we met, I never truly appreciated the world of purses. My twin sister had developed a love for purses at a very young age. And my grandmother, Dorothy or “Dot,” which is what my sister and I called her, had quite a collection of purses. She had handbags of all different sizes, shapes and price ranges. It was quite impressive, I must admit. But, I never cared about what sort of pocketbook I carried around until I met “Stevie.”

She was so pretty... and smelled so new... and even came with her own protective cloth bag to keep her nice and clean and safe. Her maker, Kate Spade, is known worldwide for her purses. She has 46 shops around the United States and is sold in every time zone and on every continent. To be the proud owner of one of her purses was an honor but for that purse to have the very same name as me, that was just too good to be true.

However, I’m sad to say that our love affair only lasted a few months before she was taken from me. I made the ridiculously stupid mistake of leaving her, all alone, in the backseat of my sister’s car during a recent trip to Murray State University. Did I mention the fact that we parked in a Christian church parking lot, directly across from the football stadium? Oh, and did I point out that Murray is in an area of Kentucky referred to as the “Bible belt” and we were there for homecoming weekend? While fun was had by all, the weekend was almost ruined by a thief, or two, who got a glimpse of “Stevie” in the backseat of my sister’s car and decided they had to have her - or at least the goodies that were inside her expensive leather straps. The thieves shattered my sister’s car window and took her. It was obvious that they wanted “Stevie” because they didn’t touch the expensive Ipod in the front seat or the CDs and other items that were on the car’s floorboard.

Did these thieves have a love for handbags, too? Nah, I doubt it.

I’m sure they thought they were going to get their hands on a load of cash and other expensive items. But, the joke was on them. They got about five dollars in cash, a nice IronMan watch (which was a sentimental gift that I am missing terribly), some makeup and some other items that can (and have) been replaced. They got their hands on my bank debit cards and checks too, but again, the joke was on them. Not having the card’s pin number makes using someone else’s debit/credit card very difficult, and having very little money in the account makes it even more frustrating for a couple of thieves. Sure, I might have had an expensive purse, but I’m like everybody else. It was a week from payday and Stevie (including “Stevie” the purse) was broke!

So, the joke was on them.

The thieves tried to make a couple of purchases at the local Wal-Mart in Murray with my debit card, however. First, they tried to make an $800 purchase. Well, as most everyone knows, you can’t spend more than $500 on a debit card. So they were denied. About six minutes later they tried to make a $200 purchase. Again, they were denied. No pin number, plus I didn’t have $200 in my checking account! Ha! For once, it paid to be broke!

Thanks to the local banks I do business with, and advice from some of my fiscally responsible friends, my finances have been protected. I have also filed several fraud alerts to protect myself, which work so well, in fact, a check I wrote recently was denied - twice. Sure, that was super embarrassing when it happened, but at least I know the knuckleheads that stole my purse are having the same luck that I am - only it’s my darn money! But, that’s a column for another day. This purse-snatching incident has definitely taught me a lesson or two, and I want to share those lessons once I learn all of them! Every day since the dreaded “Stevie” kidnapping, I have been faced with another financial roadblock of some kind. So, once I find my way back to financial freedom, I’ll give you an update.

As for “Stevie” the purse, I can only imagine where she is right now. The thieves that took her from me probably have no clue of her worth. If I had to guess, I bet she’s lying in a ditch somewhere, cold and wet. Her leather straps are probably worn and her Kate Spade pendant is probably scratched and dented. And the “Stevie” label that I kept inside one of her pockets as a sentimental keepsake is probably almost withered away.

I know Kate Spade will make more “Stevie” designed purses in the future, but for me there will only be one true “Stevie.”

May she rest in handbag heaven.

Stevie Lowery is editor of The Lebanon Enterprise in Lebanon, Ky.