Distracted shoppers make easy marks for purse thieves
Posted December 5, 2013
Ladies, you're giving thieves an open door to steal from you, and you probably don't realize it.
5 On Your Side heard from a woman whose wallet was stolen right out of her purse as she shopped for her Thanksgiving turkey.
"I had turned my back to my cart, and my cart was maybe only 2 or 3 feet away from me," recalled Kacie Reading.
Police say Cassandra Scott is the thief who stole Reading's wallet in seconds. Holly Springs Police Detective Mike Stone says Scott made a job out of this scam.
"She hit Apex, Cary, Raleigh and us. Many locations, many different times," Stone said.
Police say Scott snatched wallets from at least 19 area women since August. Security video shows Scott leaving stores after two crimes in Apex. Cary police also have security images showing Scott using some of the stolen credit cards.
Officers said Scott racked up almost $5,000 in charges right away, buying mostly untraceable gift cards.
There are plenty of YouTube videos showing wallet theft is a crime of opportunity that happens all the time. In one video, a woman quickly snags a wallet in a produce aisle. In another, a woman cases her victim, backs off, then moves back in to quickly grab a wallet and scoot out of sight.
Based on surveillance video, police believe Scott targeted Reading right away and followed her for about six minutes.
“After she had what she was looking for, she was out the door in 30 seconds. No running, nothing suspicious – just walked right out the front door,” Stone said.
Reading didn't figure it out until she went to check out at the register.
"It was horrible. You feel violated and angry,” she said. “You can't believe that this just happened to you."
Considering how much it does happen, Reading has a message: "Be aware of your surroundings. Watch your purse. Don't put it in the top if your grocery cart anymore. Keep it under your arm. You know, just be careful."