Suspects believed to have followed woman from Galleria Mall before taking $5,000 purse

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman whose $5,000 purse was taken right from the passenger seat of her vehicle believes the suspects who took it followed her from the Galleria Mall to a grocery store parking lot where the crime was committed.

Houston police disclosed that information Tuesday while releasing surveillance video of the brazen snatching that took place at about 6 p.m. on May 16.

According to police, the victim was returning to her vehicle parked in the 1800 block of South Voss Road. She told officers that when she placed her purse on her passenger seat, an unknown male opened her passenger door and grabbed the high-end bag.

The suspect then got into a gray four-door sedan and drove away. The surveillance video captured the woman running after the vehicle as it escaped.

The video also captured the suspects' vehicle pulling into the parking lot just as the victim pulled in. They parked next to the victim's vehicle and waited for more than 20 minutes until she returned.

Dennis Franks, a retired supervisory special agent with the FBI, told ABC13 suspects will often wait to find their victims.

"There are organized gangs out there who are targeting individuals that do display some indication of wealth, whether its very expensive purses, expensive watches, jewelry," he explained. "They're really keying on that and these groups are really focusing on the Galleria, River Oaks."

Franks' said if you're heading out, for your own safety, it might be best to not wear high-end items.

"The fact of the matter is you're going to attract attention, so I would say be careful with that, particularly when you're alone, but even as a couple you still can be targeted," he said.

People with information on the incident are urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be sent through the Crime Stoppers website or mobile app (Apple and Google).

SEE ALSO: Houston police make 10 arrests in string of robberies targeting victims in affluent areas
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