Purse thief mocks St. Jude patient during crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Purse thief mocks St. Jude patient during crime

Eleven-year-old Dustyn Ates and his family were visiting Graceland when a Grinch stole their Christmas joy. Photo courtesy Shannon MacKenzie. Eleven-year-old Dustyn Ates and his family were visiting Graceland when a Grinch stole their Christmas joy. Photo courtesy Shannon MacKenzie.

(WMC-TV) - A cancer patient's dream to see the home of the King turned into a brush with a thief and a holiday nightmare.

Eleven-year-old Dustyn Ates and his family were visiting Graceland when a Grinch stole their Christmas joy.

The boy and his family are from Ruston, LA, and they had been at St. Jude for about a week when a purse snatching turned their lives upside down.

"Just to get him away from everything that's been going on - the chemo's and the treatments and the hospital in general - and just go out and have a good time maybe, and get his mind off of things," said Dustyn's mother Shannon MacKenzie.

Shannon Mckenzie said her van was parked outside Graceland when the thief struck.

A thief snatched her purse out of their vehicle while she and her fiancee walked a short distance to Graceland's guard shack.

"He waited a minute and then he swung open the door and reached in and grabbed her purse and took off, but he decided to stop and turn around and laugh at us," said Dakota, Dustyn's younger brother.

Shannon MacKenzie said the laughing thief ran off with her purse and everything in it, including her identification, money and medicine.

She said the purse snatching spoiled what she had hoped would be a day to help her son get a little joy at a time when he really needs it.

"I mean its Christmas day. My son's up here fighting for his life and we're trying to make something positive for him and some lowlife stole everything we have," she said.

Family members say, unfortunately, Christmas 2011 is one they will never forget.

Police are still looking for the purse snatcher and the car he got away in. Meanwhile, family members hope investigators can get some help from the surveillance cameras set up at Graceland.

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