PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Charlotte County Sheriff's office is looking for three men who they said stole a woman's purse and went on a shopping spree.
Detectives said the victim’s purse was stolen with her cellphone, car keys and major credit cards inside. And while they look for the suspects, they said they have a few tips to help protect shopper's belongings. The sheriff’s office released surveillance video from Port Charlotte Town Center Tuesday morning. They said the video shows three men on a shopping spree using stolen credit cards from the victim’s purse. Detectives said they purchased over $2,200 worth of merchandise at the mall. They said purchases were made in Journey’s, Footlocker and Champs and American Eagle. According to the police report, the suspects stole the victim’s purse either at the Winn-Dixie on Tamiami Trail or from her home in Port Charlotte earlier this month.
The sheriff’s office also said people should be really vigilant during the holiday season:
- While shopping keep purses and wallets close to your body and avoid talking on your cellphone when walking in stores and parking lots
- Have keys in hand when walking to your car. so you can get in your car right away
- If someone tries to steal any of your belongings, don’t resist or chase after them. instead call 9-1-1 immediately
- If you have to stop at an ATM, make sure you check your surroundings before you take cash out.
- Keep doors and windows locked at home, even if leaving for a short period of time.
Corporal Paul Guyton with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said shoppers can also protect their money by getting a debit card strictly for holiday shopping. “And if they’re going to make a purchase, transfer funds. It’s not connected to anything else. It’s not connected to their mortgage, online payment, bill payment of any sort, anything else,” he said.
He added shoppers should plan ahead for in-store and online shopping. Only put necessary funds on that card. “Know exactly how much you’re going to spend. How much they need for product shipping, costs,” he said. “And once that purchase is made, there’s no more money in that account. Significantly, so that if there was a compromise, you’re [suspects’] going to lose.”
And as for the stolen purse, the sheriff’s office urges anyone with information to contact their office as soon as possible.