Police: Infamous Sister Criminals Strike Tulsa Church

Wednesday, May 4th 2011, 6:34 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Police say twin sisters infamous for targeting churches have struck in Tulsa.

The twins are known nationwide for a string of scams, cons and crimes, yet they somehow slip through the system and move on.

Police say Birdie Jo and Becky Jo Hoaks tried a hoax at Tulsa's Woodland Acres Baptist Church at 55th and Harvard, but they picked the wrong church lady to steal from this time.

A woman named Cynthia was sitting in a pew Sunday evening when a woman and her son sat down behind her.  When Cynthia turned to say hello during the greeting time, the 11-year-old boy grabbed Cynthia's purse.

The pastor who was at the front of the church saw what happened next..

"All of a sudden, one of our praise team members was screaming, yelling, ‘he took your purse, Cynthia, go get your purse,'" Pastor David Rhoades said.

Cynthia, a deacon, the sound tech and others bolted out the door after him. The boy jumped in a car with another woman so Cynthia grabbed his mother.

"She says ‘what's wrong, what's wrong?' I said, ‘where's your son, he has my purse,'' Cynthia recalled. "She said, ‘no he doesn't, it's a mistake' and I said, ‘no it's not.'"

Cynthia chased her across the street, got her on the ground and held her for police.

David Rhoades, Pastor: "I go across Harvard and Cynthia has this woman pinned in a leg lock, she looks like a pretzel. Cynthia has her wrapped up in a half-nelson and I told her, 'how dare you go into a house of God and steal someone's purse, don't ever do that again.'"

Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "You chastised her."

David Rhoades, Pastor: "I went a little Old Testament on her, then came back inside."

Police say that woman is Birdie Jo Hoaks. The boy was her son and the getaway driver was Birdie Jo's twin sister, Becky Jo.

Just Google the twins and you will find dozens of headlines about their scams, cons and crimes, mostly targeting churches and church people. Birdie Jo has even impersonated a homeless teenage boy in order to get free services.

They've both been charged in Tulsa County over the years for stolen credit cards and grand larceny, but get deferred or suspended sentences and move on.

Pastor Rhoades and Cynthia want to warn other churches that the Hoaks sisters are back in town and now training the next generation.

"To target someone who's simply coming to worship God. That's pretty sorry. That's pretty low," he said.

In addition to her arrest for the purse snatching, Birdie Jo also had a warrant for a bogus check case in Tulsa from November.

After Birdie Jo bonded out, Cynthia's purse ended up back in her driveway with everything still in it, but some money. Cynthia believes the sisters brought it back in hopes the DA will go easier on them.