Women may be easy targets for purse-snatchers

Local police warn women to protect their property

ORLANDO, Fla. - Purse-snatchings are sudden, and they usually happen when you're not paying attention, in the most public places.

A purse is like a lifeline -- it's contains IDs, credit cards, and cellphones, yet, when Local 6 went undercover, dozens of women were paying little or no attention, and making themselves an easy target.

"They don't see it coming, they don't know it's about to occur," says Lt. Richard Cordeau, of the West Melbourne Police Department.

He says that all too often, women are easy prey for these dangerous crooks, a lot of whom are drug addicts, desperate for cash.

"They're looking for a quick victim, somebody who's not watching what they're doing as they're walking through a parking lot," says Cordeau.

It's not just parking lots.  Again and again, we found women blatantly ignoring this precious possession at busy restaurants, along Park Avenue in Winter Park, and at the playground.

But the worst was at a local daycare in Orlando. Local 6 spotted mom after mom dropping off their kids, and leaving their purses visible in their front seats, and a lot of times, with their wallets out in the open.

So, we asked them, do these women every worry about their purses getting stolen out of their cars?

"I would say yes, but I honestly don't think so. I guess I never really thought about it before," says Sarah Gross.

"Yeah, it crossed my mind, but I'm ignorant sometimes," says Melissa Adams.

One woman even told us that she's had her purse stolen before.

"I just feel like it's parents dropping their kids off, so you don't really expect a parent to break into your car," says Ashley Roberson, the mom in that car.

But when we saw her, she walked into the daycare, leaving her bag behind, right in the front seat  wallet and all.

So, if there's a lesson out of all of this, it's to keep your purse close by. But how close?

First, if you're at a restaurant or coffee shop, Cordeau has some advice.

"Hanging a purse on the back of a chair is a way to make themselves an easier victim," says Cordeau. "A better place to put this is down on the floor, in between their feet."

In a parking lot, like the grocery store, keep your purse over your shoulder, and not in the front of your cart. Also, look out for anyone suspicious.

"Paying attention and being aware of your surroundings could prevent you from being a victim," says Cordeau.

He also adds that you should carry the bare minimum in your purse -- like a driver's license, and just one credit card. That way, you won't have to do as much damage control if your purse does get stolen.

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