LCSO looking for woman who robbed elderly woman in Publix parking lot

CREATED Jan. 15, 2014

  • Print

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Lee County Sheriff's Office is looking for the woman they say robbed an 83-year-old woman in the Publix parking lot on Daniels Parkway.

The thief followed the woman out of the store on Tuesday around 4 p.m.

"In this case, she clearly targeted that victim," Trish Routte, the Crime Stoppers Coordinator, said.  "She was behind her in line at the grocery store, probably saw that she had some cash and credit cards in her wallet."
 
Routte says when she got into the parking lot, the woman motioned to the victim for help then struck her in the face and snatched her purse. 
 
"While the victim was at the hospital being treated for those injuries, the suspect was out there charging up over $1,000 in purchases so she knew exactly what the drill was," Routte said.
 
Several surveillance photos were snapped of the thief spending the victim's money at several different stores. There is an unknown male with her in the photos.
 
The thief is a young and attractive woman, someone most shoppers say they would helped if she approached them.
 
"We wouldn't have ignored her, we probably would have helped her," shoppers Daniel Ruzbasan and Joseph Surico said.
 
"I think most people would help someone who looked nice," shopper Carla Blanford said.
 
The Lee County Sheriff's Office says to make sure you keep your purse or wallet close to you at all times when you're shopping.
 
Shoppers say they are now going to be more alert.
 
"It makes you much more watchful when you hear something like that happened," Blanford said.
 
"It's a message to all of us to be very vigilant, not only in the parking lot but whenever we are in any store," Ruzbasan said.
 
If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8447). You can also submit a tip online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org/ or send a text to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword REWARD and your message.