Thieves target shoppers with purses

Purses unattended snatched in seconds


LAKE MARY, Fla. – Deputies are searching for a family of thieves targeting women distracted by shopping and groceries.

Seminole County deputies said the latest victim's purse was stolen on Tuesday from the front seat of her car.

The victim said was just feet away, putting groceries in her trunk, when she was approached by two women with a toddler in the backseat. While they distracted her, a man sitting in the back of the car got out, went into her car, and grabbed her purse.

The crime took place outside the Publix at 4155 West Lake Mary Boulevard.

Other shoppers told 911 dispatchers they saw the well-timed and well-orchestrated crime.

Caller: "I was on the phone sitting here and I saw him get out of the car, walk around, open her door, grab the purse, get back in the car as she's loading her groceries."

Caller: "She wasn't aware and I'm screaming 'Ma'am, that man's stealing your purse!'"

Caller: "There were children in the car and there was a woman driving the car with dark hair with red tint in the front in the bangs."

The victim said the crime happened in an instant -- a reminder that the smallest mistake can become a thief's open door.

Local 6 cameras watched the same parking lot where the crime occurred just days before and discovered other women making the mistake of leaving their purses unattended.

One woman walked to her car with her purse in hand, opened her passenger door, left the door open, and left her purse inside the car while she attended to her groceries in her trunk.

Although these mistakes occur, most women kept their purses on them every second.

Kelly Allen admits she also has left her purse in the front seat while putting away groceries.

"[I'm] always distracted. But I think we have to be aware now more than ever," said Allen.

Security cameras caught the latest crime on video, and deputies have found the car used in the crime, but have not made any arrests.