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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 1:56 am | Fair 49º


Trio Allegedly Steals Woman’s Wallet from Purse at Grocery Store

Trio worked together to distract the victim and snag her wallet; used credit cards to drain her bank account and purchase items

Suspects if wallet theft at Santa Barbara market Click to view larger
Authorities are looking for three women who allegedly stole a woman’s wallet in a grocery store and then used the victim’s credit cards to drain her bank account and purchase items from the Apple store. (Contributed photos)

Authorities are looking for three women who allegedly stole a woman's wallet in a grocery store and then used the victim's credit cards to drain her bank account and purchase items from the Apple store. 

Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman Anthony Wagner said that the trio recently worked together to distract the victim and then snag her wallet from her purse, which was in a shopping cart at an unidentified grocery store.

The theft was reported to police on Wednesday.
The suspects are experienced in selecting potential victims, assuming their identity, and deflecting questions from bank and store employees, Wagner said. 

"After securing a wallet, the suspects usually pass it off to an accomplice in the parking lot who then assumes the identity of the victim for a brief period of time to use credit cards, checks, and access bank accounts for maximum loss, usually in less than an hour, and on occasion, before the victim even realizes the wallet has been taken," Wagner said. 
The Police Department offered the following tips:

» Take only the cash, bank card, or credit card needed to make the purchase and keep it on your person;

» Wear a small purse with a strap that can be worn on your body when you shop;

» If you feel someone is uncomfortably close to you or unusually attentive to your activity, move out of the area and report to store employees;

» If you believe you have been the victim of a crime, immediately report the incident to local law enforcement and your bank and credit card companies

Anyone with information regarding the depicted suspects is asked to contact Detective Heather Clark at 805.897.2331 or [email protected], or call anonymously to 805.897.2386.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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