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Clay County deputies say crooks are targeting customers while they shop

Clay County deputies say crooks are targeting customers while they shop

Amber Krycka
, Action News Jax

Updated: Sep 11, 2018 – 6:21 PM

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Deputies said crooks are targeting customers while they shop.

Beware shoppers: Someone is stealing women’s purses – and Clay County deputies said these crooks know what they’re doing. 

“I’ve heard so much of everything, I believe now anything,” said Molly Reilly, a shopper. 

Deputies said the crooks work in teams and find shoppers who are alone and have their purses in their carts.

One of them then starts up a conversation about a product, while the other one takes the wallet from their purse. 

“I think sometimes we walk around in a daydream, and we are really not thinking that someone is going to come up and start a conversation or even come up on you and take your wallet,” said Roberta Mayfield, a shopper.

Deputies said there have been recent thefts including one at a Fleming Island Walmart. Investigators said the thieves will often have full carts, to make it seem like they’re shopping too.

After they take the wallet, they leave the cart and tell the employees they forgot their wallet in the car.

STORY: Woman targeted at local gym: Valuables stolen, cars burglarized at Bailey’s gym

STORY: Jacksonville fraud scheme using rental cars nets over a million dollars in losses

The crooks then immediately go to other nearby businesses and use the victim’s credit cards.

Shoppers said they are going to be more aware and smart about where they place their purses. 

“I put it down in the basket and then I put my food on top of it,” said Mayfield. 

Deputies posted some tips on Facebook: 

Keep your purse on your person
Make sure your purse is secure by zipping or latching it shut
Don’t keep more than you need in your purse (such as Social Security cards).
Maintain situational awareness while shopping.

If you find your wallet missing DON’T WAIT to notify us. Immediately report the incident and freeze your credit cards.