Sisters charged in theft of unattended purse at Turning Stone
VERONA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two sisters have been charged after authorities say they stole a purse that was unattended at Turning Stone Casino. Ashley Balandis, 25, of Rome and Amanda Balandis, 17, of Utica are now charged with petit larceny. According to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the victim reported that she was using the slot machines on January 22 when she accidentally left her purse behind at one of the machines. When the owner went back to get her purse, she told authorities it was gone. Investigators say they purse was later recovered in a ladies bathroom and returned to the owner, but the money that was in the purse was missing. Investigators say that the Balandis sisters were playing on the slot machines when they found the unattended purse near them, picked it up and instead of turning the purse in to security, went in to the ladies restroom with it where they stole the money that was inside. Authorities say they then left the purse in the restroom and left the casino. Over the course of a month-long investigation into the case, Sheriff's Investigators learned of the suspect's identities, locating and arresting Ashley Balandis on Friday, February 22. Amanda Balandis turned herself in the following day. They were both given appearance tickets returnable to Verona Town Court.