Police: Common Ways Thieves Steal Wallets at Retail Stores

The most common retail customer thefts occur in large retail stores, especially those where the customer uses a shopping cart.


The most common retail customer thefts occur in large retail stores, especially those where the customer uses a shopping cart.

Most common victim: Female

Age:  50 plus

Item taken: Wallet from purse

From: Shopping cart child seat

The Methods

  • By Distraction of a two-person team. Suspect no. 1 distracts the victim by asking a question about a grocery item. Many times the suspect speaks with an accent so that the victim will focus her attention specifically towards that suspect. Suspect no. 2 will then reach into the purse and steal the wallet. By the time the victim realizes their wallet is missing, the suspects are long gone.
  • Shopper Acting. The suspect acts like a shopper, either with a grocery cart or grocery basket. He or she will act like they are looking for a certain grocery item near the victim's shopping cart with the exposed purse. The suspect will then reach for the grocery item and the wallet at the same time.  Again, the suspect will be long gone before the victim notices their wallet has been stolen.


Tips for Prevention

Be very aware of your surroundings, aware of who is near you and aware of
who is watching you. DO NOT leave your purse unattended while shopping, EVER.  Hold your purse tightly and against your body. You can also keep your purse in the shopping cart, not in the child seat, as long as you are watching it. Better yet, don’t bring your purse shopping with you. Leave it at home or in the trunk of your car. Put only the necessary items, i.e. drivers license, credit card, etc. in one of your front pockets.

Notify management or call 911 if you observe suspicious people or activity. Give a detailed description of what the suspect is wearing and what they look like.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached at ljacobs@sandyspringsga.gov.

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