Elderly woman's purse stolen in matter of seconds

December 12, 2012 3:20:29 PM PST
It's the holiday season, and thieves are on the prowl, ready to swipe what's yours before you even know what hit you.

It's a lesson some victims just learned the hard way during a typical trip to the grocery store. Their purses were taken right from their carts as they were shopping, and police are looking for that bold purse thief now.

Seventy-seven-year-old Barbara Wagner says she's usually very aware of her surroundings and she doesn't even leave any belongings in her car.

But it only took a few seconds for her to become a victim while grocery shopping at her local H-E-B Sunday evening.

"It didn't have a handle so I couldn't put it over my shoulder to keep it close to me, so I had it laying in the cart," Wagner told us. "The only thing I can imagine is that it was when I was reaching up and looking for something on a shelf."

It took less than a minute for a thief to run off the purse, containing $70.

"It just makes me very angry, very, very angry, that people can take advantage of you like that," she said.

As Wagner was talking to a manager, another victim came forward. Her purse had been stolen in the same way.

"Myself and the other woman we're both seniors. And that's really bad, that's really bad. I'm not a wealthy person," she said.

HPD officer Jim Woods says criminals target shoppers during the holiday season because they're often distracted. He recommends keeping your belongings close to your body and using a strap or maybe even a pocket.

"As minimal as possible. If you're going to carry a credit card, if you can get by with it, carry just one so that you always know which one you have with you," Woods said.

It's advice Wagner has already started following.

"Much safer, much better. And I carry it like this," she told us.

Houston police are hoping to get surveillance video from inside the store to help with their investigation.

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