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Santa Barbara Police Department
Wednesday September 26th, 2018 :: 04:39 p.m. PDT


Police Crime Alert!

Crime Alert!

The Santa Barbara Police Department would like to remind its citizens to please be aware of their surroundings while shopping in local grocery stores and the potential for leaving purses or wallets accessible in shopping carts.

A Santa Barbara resident reported today that she was recently the victim of grand theft when the suspects came into possession of her wallet while she was shopping at a local grocery store. The suspects (see attached photos) worked together as a team to distract the victim and remove her wallet from her purse which had been in her shopping cart just an arm’s reach away. Within an hour, the victim’s credit cards and identification had been used at a local Chase Bank branch to empty her bank account and to attempt large purchases at the Apple Store.

The modus operandi is well known to detectives and the crews of suspects -- in most cases working nationwide crime sprees -- are difficult to identify and apprehend.

The suspects are experienced in selecting potential victims, assuming their identity, and deflecting questions from bank and store employees. 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.

Do not be a victim!
• 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

If you have any information regarding the depicted suspects, please contact Detective Heather Clark at (805) 897-2331 or [email protected], or call anonymously to (805) 897-2386.

Santa Barbara Police Department
215 East Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-897-2300

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