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2 women charged with stealing nun’s rosary

Vanessa Young (left) and Crystal Young.Quincy police

When a Somerville woman allegedly accosted a nun in Quincy Sunday afternoon, demanding money after brandishing a knife, she didn’t expect she would be settling for rosary beads. But one of the nun’s religious sisters believes the rosary might have saved both women’s lives.

“I truly believe the rosary saved them both — the nun’s life and the woman from doing a more serious crime,” said Mother Olga Yaqob, the founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth religious community.

Vanessa Young, 26, confronted the nun while walking down Phipps Street around 2 p.m., Quincy police said. She allegedly pulled out a knife, tried to take the nun’s satchel, and asked for her wallet.


Crystal Young, her wife, was standing about 10 feet behind the nun, acting as a lookout, police said.

When the nun said she didn’t have any money, Vanessa Young said, “Well you have to give me something,” Yaqob said. “Only then, thank God, did she take the rosary and put the knife away.”

Yaqob declined to identify the nun, who was shaken by the incident. She was wearing secular clothes when she was attacked, police said.

Police found the suspects a short time later in a car on Phipps Street. They recovered a small locking knife, six cellphones, and a Weymouth resident’s checkbook, but not the rosary beads, police said.

The nun went to the scene and identified the women as her attackers, police said.

Vanessa Young was held on $5,000 bail Monday on charges of armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of receiving stolen property worth over $250, the Norfolk district attorney’s office said.

Crystal Young was charged with armed robbery and was released on personal recognizance. Both women are scheduled for probable cause hearings on Sept. 13.

Dylan McGuinness can be reached at dylan.mcguinness@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @DylMcGuinness.