“Attention customers: If you are thinking of stealing someone’s wallet out of their purse, you should know there’s such a thing as surveillance cameras, these days.”
Apparently, “a heavy-set female” in “a white visor-style hat,” Capri-length jeans, black shoes and a black and white tie-dyed T-shirt, didn’t get the memo. Because 36,000 (and counting) viewers have watched her stalk and then steal from an elderly woman inside a Cooper City Aldi supermarket on a video the Broward Sheriff’s Office posted to its Facebook page Friday.
The theft happened around 4:15 p.m. June 27 at the Aldi at 4298 N. University Dr. in Cooper City.
In the video, which has a pretty crisp color image, we can see the elderly woman shopping from the produce section as she walks back and forth to her cart. Her purse is in a common place for a purse in a grocery store — in the cart.
For more than a minute, the thief — a woman whose age is estimated to be mid-30s — follows the victim from behind as she “bides her time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike,” BSO says in its social media post.
“She pretends to shop, placing random items into her shopping cart. She moves closer to the victim’s shopping cart while the victim shops and quickly backs off when the victim turns her attention back to her purse. Finally, the thief gets close enough to reach into the victim’s purse and grab[s] her wallet,” the post reads.
The thief, detectives say, ditched her cart and left the store.
That day, the suspect charged $462 on the victim’s credit card at a Macy’s in Pembroke Pines and was seen on another surveillance video as she spent $256 at a Target using the woman’s debit card.
Again, people: surveillance videos.
The BSO Facebook video has been shared more than 700 times by Saturday afternoon. One reader posted in the comments thread: “This tells me it’s time to unleash my idea to the world: The Purse Trap. It’s essentially a mouse trap inside your purse. Instead of cheese you place a credit card w no signature and a $20 on the switch and sit back and enjoy the show.”
If that’s not entirely practical, another reader echoes what detectives have said to store customers for ages: “Lesson to all of us. Never leave purse unattended or back to it.”
BSO released the video in hopes someone will recognize the suspect and reach out to law enforcement. If you have information, contact Det. Christopher Neves at 954-432-9000. Or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or online at browardcrimestoppers.org.