Crime Watch

CrimeWatch: Don’t leave your purse in the car, even at a funeral


Special to The Miami Herald

This past week I attended the funeral of a dear friend of mine, Lola Losada, an activist who had a heart of gold in Hialeah. While at the cemetery I noticed that many of the women left their purses in the car. I approached a couple of them and advised them that they should take their purse with them. Their reply: “Oh, no one is going to take it. This is a cemetery.”

Well I advised them that criminals visit cemeteries just for that reason. While everyone is occupied, they steal. In most cases people don’t lock their cars, so it’s an easy grab. As horrible as this must sound over the years I have had emails regarding this issue where women have gone to visit a love one’s grave site, and their purse have been stolen. Just like people that go to church or services and leave their purse in the car.

Folks, these thieves have no moral standards and look for easy targets, they roam funeral homes, cemeteries and churches knowing you are trusting of these locations. Criminals are everywhere. So think again when you are attending these places.

And now... another scam

I also received an interesting email from one of our readers who wanted me to share this situation with you in case it has happened to anyone else:

I called my bank this morning to ask for some information and report my trip abroad. I dialed the telephone on the back of the credit card (which I’ve called many times) and was surprised when I was asked by the machine to punch 1 if I’m over 65. I did and then I got a promotion for Medical Alert, which I declined. Next, they asked me if I wanted a $100 discount voucher for Walmart. When I said “NO,” the voice told me to call another number, which I didn’t get because she said it too fast. So, I called a different number for the bank, where they transferred me to customer service. I told the rep about my experience with the other number on my card, and he told me I was the second customer reporting the same incident.

How did this happen? I don’t know, but it could be that somebody has taken over the bank’s customer service telephone and is using it to either telemarket “Medical Alert” or find a way to get the caller’s personal information to steal their identity.

Elisa from Islandia

Don’t text and cycle

In closing, I want to mention something that disturbed me. I saw a group of bike riders, several of whom were on the phone, while another was texting, with no hands on the handle bar. I watched as they swerved from one side of the bike lane to the other.

It was pretty frightening, but the worst was the guy that was texting. He was not paying attention to the road. For a moment I thought he was going to run into the guy in front of him. Folks, texting and bike-riding don’t go well together. Its hard enough when you are out in the road, so please “no texting and riding” should be the next slogan.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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