Sheriff's investigators said it may start out with seemingly innocent questions about wine pairings or the cheese selection. But it's all part of the heist.
Authorities say two women are working as a team to target women who put their purses in the child seat of the grocery cart. One suspect will distract the shopper with conversation while the second suspect will wait for an opportune time to pick through the victim's purse and walk off with her wallet.
They were caught on surveillance video working in tandem at grocery stores in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel.
Orange County sheriff's officials say this is becoming an alarming trend across the county.
Investigators are encouraging residents to heed these tips when out shopping:
- Keep your cart and your belongings in view at all times.
- Make sure your purse is always zipped up or securely closed. For an added measure of security, use the child restraint straps and fasten them through the handles of your purse.
- If your purse must stay in the cart, pile some grocery items on top of it to make it a less desirable target.
- Re-evaluate whether you need to carry your entire purse into the store. If possible to only carry your method of payment, lock your purse in your trunk.
- When loading groceries into your car, don't leave your purse unattended. Make your personal items the first thing you put in your vehicle.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Don't get into drawn out conversations with someone you don't know, and if someone appears suspicious, report it.
If you have seen the suspects, you're urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 647-7000, press 9 then press 1.