Published: Nov 27, 2012 11:11 AM EST
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 11:17 AM EST

DEEP CREEK, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff's detectives arrested a man for stealing a purse out of an elderly Arcadia couple’s car at the Murphy’s gas station in the Deep Creek area on Nov. 14. Tony Curtis “Pops” Goforth, 50, of 3525 Beacon Drive, was charged with Burglary to a Conveyance, Grand Theft, and Fraudulent use of a Credit Card.

Deputies responded to the call at 9:21 a.m. where the couple had stopped to pump gas. The 80-year-old woman left her purse on the floor of the car. When they came back to the car, she noticed her purse was stolen. Her husband, 76, told deputies he saw a man acting suspiciously near their car and interacting with a woman in a gold colored Buick SUV. He gave deputies a description of the man and even the license tag number. The couple later notified CCSO that one of her credit cards had been used at the Shell gas station nearby at 2146 Kings Highway about 20 minutes after her purse was stolen. Surveillance video confirmed the same Buick SUV at the Shell station.

Detectives reviewed Murphy’s surveillance video and observed the man matching the description given by the couple. It also showed the woman in the Buick SUV enter the store to buy cigarettes. Detectives ran the tag number to the owners who live in the 1500 block of Abel Street in Port Charlotte. Detectives located the gold Buick SUV and made contact with the owners. They said they picked up the man prior to going to Murphy’s who wanted a ride to the hospital; they did not know his name but said he usually hangs out at the Harold Avenue Recreation Center and watches people play basketball. Detectives went to the center and showed a surveillance photos to employees who identified Goforth, also known as “Pops.” The employee said Goforth’s son plays on a basketball team.

Detectives went to Goforth’s home and arrested him for the purse theft and related charges. Goforth denied being at Murphy’s or using the credit card at the Shell station, even after being told of the surveillance and witnesses statements. He was transported to the Charlotte County Jail where he remains onno bond due to his extensive criminal history and being a convicted felon.

Sheriff Bill Cameron has advised motorists many times in the past to always lock your car, especially at gas stations. Thieves target motorists who leave their vehicle unlocked, even for a few minutes, to go into the convenience store to pay for gas or purchase items.