HomeShoppingCaught on camera: Thieves steal from woman's purse at Spanish Fort grocery...

Caught on camera: Thieves steal from woman’s purse at Spanish Fort grocery store

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A trio of pickpockets in Publix stole a woman’s wallet in Spanish Fort.

Minutes later they used her credit card to spend thousands of dollars, according to the Spanish Fort Police Department. Investigators say it is clear the suspects have done this before as their movements and technique look practiced and organized.

“It appeared to be three subjects that were working together,” said Spanish Fort Police Sgt. Steven Mooney. “Distracting her, other customers it was almost – if you want to equate it to like a shark circling its prey.”

Surveillance footage from the Eastern Shore Centre Publix in Spanish Fort shows them carrying baskets and looking at food on the shelves, but they had a different item on their grocery list.

“Well, they are working together,” said Mooney. “They made several attempts to get the wallet from the purse. I believe it was the second or third attempt before they actually retrieved it.”

Mooney says the thieves were only in the store for about 10 minutes. As soon as they got the wallet, they left the store. As officers were speaking with the victim, she received an alert on her phone for potential fraud on one of her credit cards.

“The subjects that stole the wallet used her stolen cards to obtain a little over $2,000 worth of phone cards, prepaid debit cards, things of that nature,” said Mooney.

It is a crime that is remarkably like one that took place back in August at the same Spanish Fort Publix. Two women went into the store and blended in with other shoppers. The pair grabbed a 78-year-old woman’s wallet from her purse as she turned away from her buggy. The accused thieves spent almost $5,000 on items like gift cards at Sam’s Club. NBC 15 spoke with Mooney in 2023 about that incident.

In 2023 he said, “It’s very clear that they’ve done this more than once. If you want to say it professional pickpocket. It appears they are targeting older women who may not be paying as much attention or worried about anything around them.”

At this point, the police department is unable to tie the incidents together, but Mooney says they used the same technique and at least one of the subjects appears to be the same from the first theft.

Mooney advises shoppers to keep valuable items like purses physically on you. If you must leave it in your cart, make sure it is closed and stay as close to it as you can.

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