Prosecutors Charge Prolific Downtown Pickpockets

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee September 28, 2011

Police have arrested a prolific suspected pickpocket, and are searching for her supposed partner in crime, in connection with a series of thefts in downtown Seattle.

Edna Berry and her boyfriend, Edward Maloy, are each facing multiple theft-related charges for snatching wallets in a series of pickpocketing schemes over the last month.

In the first incident, on September 9, a police report says Berry—described as a "large sized female" in police records—suddenly stopped and bent over at the bottom of a packed escalator in the Washington State Convention Center.

In the midst of a pile up on the escalator, police say Berry's accomplice, Maloy, reached into a woman's purse and grabbed her wallet.

Seattle Police Department robbery detective Mike Magan reviewed footage from convention center, and recognized Berry and Maloy from several other pickpocket cases in 2005 and 2009.

Three days later, police say Berry boarded a Metro bus at 6th and Pine during rush hour and began asking the bus driver a number of questions as she blocked the entrance to the bus.

A man walked up to a woman waiting at the bus stop, said he'd catch the next bus, and left.

The woman later realized her wallet was missing.

Finally, on September 20, a woman and her daughter got on an elevator in Pacific Place to head down to the parking garage, followed by Maloy and Berry.

As the woman and her daughter tried to exit the elevator, Berry blocked their way and "began to scream that the heel of her shoe was stuck in the track for the elevator" and "was acting as if she was panicking," court records say.

The victim became suspicious of the incident when she realized Berry was not wearing heeled shoes.

When the woman got to her car and realized her wallet was missing from her purse, she contacted Pacific Place security, who reported the incident to SPD and gave officers a description of the vehicle Berry and Maloy had driven away in.

Patrol officers spotted the car and contacted Berry and another man, who was in the vehicle, and found items purchased with the pickpocket victims' credit cards in the trunk.  Maloy was not in the vehicle.

Police arrested Berry, but are still looking for Maloy.

According to police records, Berry has had 25 warrants since 1993, and convictions for cocaine, and a weapons violation.

Maloy has had 13 warrants since 1998, and had a criminal history in five states which includes 10 theft convictions in Washington, forgery, robbery, bail jumping, and two counts of  "jostling hand near pocket" in New York.

A law enforcement source says that while prosecutors only filed four total counts against Berry and Maloy in this latest case, police believe the pair could be responsible for as many as 100 pickpocket cases in Seattle.
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