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Column: Retail Customer Thefts
by Officer Larry Jacobs
October 12, 2012 02:51 PM | 1880 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officer Larry Jacobs - Sandy Springs Police
Officer Larry Jacobs - Sandy Springs Police
The most common retail customer thefts occur in large retail stores, especially those where the customer uses a shopping cart.

Most common victim: Female

Age: 50

Item taken: Wallet from purse

From: Shopping cart child seat


Two Ways:

1st Way - Distraction: Two – Person Team. SUSPECT 1 distracts the victim by asking a question about a grocery item. Many times the suspect speaks with an accent so that the victim will focus her attention specifically towards that suspect. SUSPECT 2 will then reach into the purse and steal the wallet. By the time the victim realizes their wallet is missing, the suspects are long gone.

2nd Way – Shopper Acting: The suspect acts like a shopper, either with a grocery cart or grocery basket. The suspect will act like they are looking for a certain grocery item near the victims shopping cart with the exposed purse. The suspect will then reach for the grocery item and the wallet at the same time. Again, the suspect will be long gone before the victim notices their wallet has been stolen.

PREVENTION SUGGESTIONS: Be very aware of your surrounds, aware of who is near you and aware of who is watching you. DO NOT leave your purse unattended while shopping, EVER. Hold your purse tightly and against your body. You can also keep your purse in the shopping cart, not in the child seat, as long as you are watching it. Better yet, don’t bring your purse shopping with you. Leave it at home or in the trunk of your car. Put only the necessary items, i.e. drivers license, credit card, etc. in one of your front pockets.

This has occurred in Sandy Springs in the past and there is no reason not to expect it to happen in the future, especially as the busy holiday season approaches and criminals become more active.

We do notice this crime tends to happen on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s; the times when our vulnerable senior population tends to go shopping, especially grocery shopping. If you see this, please do your good deed for the day and remind them to hold on to their purses and not to leave them in their shopping carts.

Notify management or call 911 if you observe suspicious person(s) or activity. Give a detailed description of what the suspect is wearing and what they look like.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at

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