I promise to be back baking and cooking and sewing, but this is my PSA. You need to know this.
I am a victim of a crime. It made me so angry because it was my own dumb fault. But still, someone broke the law. Here's what happened. I was at work and opted to not use my locker. I took my new purse, which is kind of big, and stashed it behind a bunch of coats and aprons on our coat rack. Anyone could walk by and not see it. But this coat rack is down a dead end aisle, past the lockers, there is no reason for anyone to go there. It was a busy day at the store and 2 customers played another associate and I with the distraction technique. One of them slipped back there and when I went to lunch an hour later it was missing. You need to know this. This is a very fast growing crime, and it can be prevented.
As I have been speaking to other victims, I am outraged that there is very little punishment doled out because they are rarely caught in the act. Mine was caught, and I will tell you all about that after the court date. But for now, I want to share some stories with you. And although the majority of these happened in the Memphis area, the thieves cross all racial boundaries. You cannot really finger point this culprit. If my purse had been locked up, they would have moved on. Instead they went on a $5,000 shopping spree. But there are other methods for stealing your wallet. Notice I say wallet. Stealing a purse is risky. If they swipe your wallet, it will take you a little longer to figure it out. A year ago another associate at our store had just one credit card stolen. It was a day before she realized it. They know where they can shop with credit cards and no one will ask for ID. Macy's is one, gas stations are another. We the consumer are paying the price. Stopping them is the only solution.
Shopping carts are one of the thieve's favorite targets. There we are in the grocery, Target, Costco wherever. We have our hands on that cart so setting your purse in the front seat is a natural thing. One of my friends was looking at the photo kiosk at Target, standing at her cart, and she turned to catch a woman with her hand in her purse. She thwarted the thief but was shocked at how brazen she was. Another friend was in the parking lot at Costco loading her groceries. As she put things in her trunk a guy came running by, grabbed her purse and jumped into a waiting car. Another victim was at the grocery and a young girl asked her questions about the different lettuces in the produce department. As she is being a good samaritan, the accomplice slips away with the wallet. Think it can't happen to you?
Another victim went to the gas station and pulled in to a pump. A gentleman waved her to another pump saying it was not operating. She pulled her credit card out, she began to pump gas and with her back turned, this man got into her passenger door and took her purse. How do you pump gas? Who would think you have to lock your car when you are standing next to it?
How about the victim dining at a fine restaurant. She sets her purse on the floor. When they leave, she discovers her wallet missing. Gone. While she and her husband are dining, someone has slipped her purse out, taken her wallet and slipped it back. This happened at a high end restaurant. It happens all the time.
Finally, I was told of two purses stolen from parked vehicles at two different private schools. Moms in a hurry, parking the car, and running inside for a second or even going to the car ahead of her in carpool to chat with a friend. Both purses swiped in the blink of an eye.
It appears the method for stealing my wallet is one of the most popular, as it has happened all over our suburb. Small businesses are best, because there is a real sense of familiarity for the people that work there. You get comfortable. I was comfortable. I've been working at the same store for over 15 years. The truth is your purse or wallet is safer in your trunk than at work if you have no means for locking it up.
I spoke to the Sergeant handling my case, and he said most perpetrators of economic crimes are usually very brazen and generally non violent. By stealing a credit card, shopping, selling the merchandise and trashing the card, there is no evidence. It is easier and less risky than stealing merchandise from a store or robbing you at gunpoint. Because they rarely have violent crimes on their records, they post bail if they are caught, and go back to work.
So I am telling you that you should never, under any circumstance set your purse down. It doesn't matter if it's your local grocery or the gas station at the corner. Memphis, Tulsa or Paris. They are everywhere. The next post is going to be about what you need to do before you become a victim, and after, should this befall you.