Thieves browse stores for shoppers’ wallets


A woman who had her wallet stolen from her purse while shopping at a store in Stevenson Ranch recently prompted local sheriff’s officials to post a warning about “Shopping Cart Safety.”

“Our crime prevention deputies are noting cases of theft reported where women are having their wallets taken out of their purses while they shop,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station wrote on a social media post Monday.

“Her wallet was taken right out of her purse,” Miller said about the Stevenson Ranch incident.

“These thieves go right up next to the shopping cart,” she said. “And, when the woman has her back turned that’s when it happens. It’s so easy.

“Many purses are even unzipped,” Miller said. “And, by the time they (victims) notice, the thieves are gone. They are quick, so fast.”

The victims do not even realize it happened until they make their way to the check-out to pay for their items. By then, the thieves have already used their credit cards at multiple locations, she wrote in her warning to SCV shoppers.

Shoppers often use the child seat of shopping cart to hold their purse and other personal items and this offers an opportunity for a thief.

When the shopper turns their attention to an item on a shelf, a thief can easily move in and steal your wallet or pocketbook from the shopping cart, Miller said.

Local sheriff’s deputies have some advice for local shoppers:

“Next time you are using a shopping cart keep these tips in mind,” Miller said:

  • DO NOT leave your pocketbook in the shopping cart.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Pay attention to people who look suspicious.
  • If you choose to carry a purse when shopping keep it closed and secured to your body.

“We’re seeing this (crime) also at restaurants,” Miller said. “A woman will put her purse on a chair and maybe it’s loud or there’s music playing — you have to be aware of where your purse is,” she said. “The thieves could be sitting at the next table.”

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