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Purse Thefts On The Rise In Roseville; Female Pair Targeting Distracted Shoppers

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A rash of purse thefts in Roseville has police warning citizens of female suspects targeting victims while they’re grocery stopping.

“Within 20 minutes they were draining my bank account,” said one victim.

Police say at least seven victims have come forward in the last six weeks to report similar crimes — their wallets stolen from shopping carts in just a matter of seconds.

“They drained everything I had,” the woman said.

This single mother of two is too afraid to show her face after thieves snatched her wallet from inside a Sprouts Market Wednesday afternoon.

“I went to turn and grab my seafood from the seafood counter and my son wanted to hold my wallet. So, I handed it to him,” she said. “I turned back around, not five seconds — at the most — later, and he doesn’t have my wallet anymore. Someone took it.”
“That’s rude. That’s unbelievable that somebody would invade a child like that,” said shopper Tracy Halloran.

Roseville police say in each case the suspects are women — sometimes working in pairs to distract the victims.

“One woman doesn’t appear at all, the other woman will walk up to the shopper and ask her some question about the food they’re looking at,” Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said. “Apparently, while they are talking, the other woman is reaching into the purse and taking the wallet.”

Shoppers say the recent rise in thefts has made them think twice about leaving their purses in the cart.

“I used to go shopping and kind of walk away from my cart — a little bit — and leave the pocket book in there and realize it’s not just a good idea either,” said Sherry Gold.

But for this victim, the damage is already done. She lost $3,000 in just a matter of minutes when the suspects went around to several banks and drained her savings account.

It’s a costly lesson learned by simply looking away.

“Do not put your purse down. If you have a clutch, keep it under your arm. I thought it was fine for five seconds,” the woman said.

Surveillance store video is being reviewed to see if cameras have captured the crooks in action.

Police say the suspects are looking for quick cash and appear to be spending the money on gift cards.

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