Corona police seek suspects in 'distraction theft' of elderly woman's wallet

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Police are looking for a man and two women who stole a pursue from a woman at a Corona store, then racked up thousands of dollars in charges at Target and Best Buy. (Corona PD)

"You can still be friendly but you can be alert." Eighty-three-year-old Patricia Jones will be practicing these words of wisdom from now on after learning the hard way.

Three weeks ago, while shopping at her local Stater Bros. market, she was distracted by a man whose accomplices then stole her wallet.

"As I bent down to get my mayonnaise someone tapped on my shoulder, and he couldn't speak very well in English. He said what mayonnaise do you choose? I said I always get Best Food," Jones said.

Surveillance video shows the man Corona police say Jones spoke with. While he distracted her over mayo choices, they say his two female accomplices lifted the victim's wallet.

"The minute I lifted my purse it was very light. You know your whole world is in your wallet. I said wait a minute, wait a minute. Something is wrong here," Jones said.

Around the corner at Best Buy, the trio wasted no time racking up charges on her stolen credit cards. Then another surveillance camera caught them entering a Target across the street.

But at the checkout counter, their purchase was declined. By this time Jones was sitting with a bank official just a few blocks away sorting things out.

"She clicked on my account and as she did, she said, 'Oh! $3,000 just came out of our account,'" Jones said. "'Oh now, $1750.' This was within 15 minutes of each other."

Jones got her money back, but the thieves still got away with something more precious to her.

"Pictures of my beautiful darling husband. Because when I open that wallet see him smiling back at me it was just part of my life," Jones said.

Corona police are asking anyone who has any information about the suspects or the crime to come forward.
Related Topics:
crimerobberyCoronaRiverside County
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