Local News

Shoppers warned to beware of sneaky thieves on Black Friday

Posted November 22, 2012

— The holidays bring out the shoppers – and the thieves who target them.

In Raleigh, for example, police have responded to 12 reports of wallets stolen from shopping carts in the past 60 days.

One Apex woman said she never thought she would become the victim of two thieves who worked in tandem to steal items in her purse. Now, she is telling her story in the hopes of helping others be aware of sneaky thieves as the head out to do their Black Friday shopping.

“I felt extremely violated,” said Debbie Hatt, recalling her trip to TJ Maxx in Morrisville.

She was shopping when a woman she didn’t know approached her.

“She was holding two jackets, asked me to try on the jackets,” she said. “I was the same size as her mother.”

Hatt reluctantly agreed, turning away from her shopping cart and the big purse she left in it.

“She was very distracting,” Hatt said. “It was a little nerve-wracking at first. I thought it was a little odd, but I didn't think much of it and I turned and continued shopping.”

About 45 minutes later, she realized another person had swiped her wallet, checkbook and cellphone, leaving her purse behind.

“When I got to the check-out, at first I had a hard time believing, there's just no way,” Hatt said.

The thieves sped to Crabtree Valley Mall and used her credit cards to buy $20,000 in computer equipment before Hatt could cancel her cards.

“Even when I talked to Apple, they didn't think it was fraud when someone used three different credit cards seven different times,” Hatt said.

Fortunately, the credit card companies covered the losses. But Hatt’s made it her mission to warn other holiday shoppers.

“I just felt very violated,” she said. “But at the same time, I've learned that this is very wide spread.”

She advises women to keep their purses close, and don’t lose sight of potential thieves in the fog of shopping.

“They're distracted, looking for bargains and they're not paying attention to their belongings and it's going to be an easy target,” Hatt said. “Hopefully, people will listen up and close up their purses so this won't happen to them.”


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Nov 23, 2012

    That's a shame! Men and women always need to keep their wallet or purse on them. I don't carry a purse, never have. I don't carry a wallet either. But for those who do, be careful. I knew a woman who turned around to get something and her purse was in the front of the shopping cart and in 2.3 seconds, the purse grew legs and walked away!!


  • tootiefrootie Nov 23, 2012

    Keep your money and phone on you at all times. Gotta love this economy!

  • jcthai Nov 23, 2012

    The Apple store sold $20,000 worth of stuff on three credit cards and didn't check for ID? And the credit card companies accepted these charges without having the customer call? I hope Apple gets stuck with some of the bill.

  • Rebelyell55 Nov 23, 2012

    Another thing that is a big rash of , is car break in. Put your stuff in the trunk, don't leave it in back seat to be seen. They smash window and grab in a minute. While this happen all years, it appear there a peak of it during the Holidays.

  • superman Nov 23, 2012

    Going shopping and leaving a big purse in the shopping cart is not smart. I see it happen all the time when I am shopping. If you just exercise some common sense and good judgment it would not have happened. If you carry a big purse--use one with a shoulder strap and keep the purse in front of you. Keep in mind some people are just not honest.

  • southerntalent Nov 23, 2012

    This story should be on all the news channels,it is a shame,but you cannot trust any strangers these days

  • leegveasey Nov 23, 2012

    While there are undoubtedly many dishonet people out there, viewing everyone in need as a potential crook is a miserable way to live.