Distraction thieves sought in San Pedro area


Two men are wanted by police for preying on women in grocery stores. Surveillance video from a Ralphs store on Western Avenue in San Pedro shows the two men.

"One suspect will distract the victim and the other suspect attempts to take her wallet out of her purse while she's being distracted," said LAPD Detective Don Eldridge.

Police say on September 17, the suspects targeted three women in the same store. The suspects don't succeed until they meet 78-year-old Michico Hall. The young man approached her for help picking out produce.

"He said, 'I'd like to buy some cantaloupe, and I'd like to eat it right away. Can you help me pick out one?''" said Hall.

The Rancho Palos Verdes woman says she didn't even know her wallet was missing until she went to pay at the cash register.

Hall says within an hour her credit cards had been used at two gas stations and for an online purchase of electronics worth $1,000.

"I have never experienced anything like this so I didn't zip my purse, I just left it on the shopping cart open, so I blame myself," said Hall.

Police are now warning female shoppers to be cautious and alert, keep their purses closed, on their bodies or tied to the child-safety strap often found in shopping carts.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division at (310) 726-7853.

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