Evansville Police Issue Warning About Vacation Purse Thieves

As the holiday shopping season is set to heat up, the Evansville Police Department is warning residents, especially women, about groups of individuals going from store to store looking for potential targets to steal while shopping.

A “recent increase in the theft of wallets and credit cards”

In a Facebook post Monday, the Department issued a warning to residents about a “recent spike in [the] theft of wallets and credit cards” nationwide who have traveled to the Evansville area over the past year. The statement said the thefts involve a pair or small group of individuals who enter outlets targeting women and other people who carry purses and place in their carts. For example, in the area where a child would be sitting. Once they find their target, one of the thieves will approach the woman and distract her in some way.While the distraction is taking place, another individual in the group walks up to the cart and steals the purse or takes the person’s wallet .Once the victim realizes what happened, the thieves are long gone and use their credit cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of prepaid gift cards.

The ministry went on to say that the thieves are usually not from the area and travel from town to town committing the crime again and again, making them difficult to track and bring to justice. The department says it is working with several area stores “and several federal agencies to catch these criminals and make it harder to buy large amounts of gift cards with stolen credit cards.”

A thief trying to steal a handbag from a girl isolated on white background


How to avoid becoming a victim

To prevent these thieves from making you their next target, the Department offers the following advice:

  • Take extra precautions to secure your purse or wallet while shopping. Simply closing your purse might be enough to deter some of these criminals.
  • Carry your purse or wallet with you when shopping
  • Never leave it unattended in your shopping cart, especially if it is engaged in conversation by another buyer.
  • If you choose to leave your purse in your car, store it in your trunk or another location inaccessible to thieves who also target parked cars.

In the event that you are the victim of a theft during your purchases, the Department advises that you immediately freeze the credit cards and contact 911.

[Source: Evansville Police Department on Facebook]

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