A woman said thieves went on a nearly $10,000 shopping spree after stealing her wallet at a south Charlotte grocery store.
Jennifer Ruiz said she went to Whole Foods on Fairview Road near SouthPark Mall around 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I typically have my purse on my shoulder, but that day I was going to be in there for a while, so I set it down in the cart,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz, who shops at that particular Whole Foods often, admitted her guard was down.
"You always think it’s not going to happen to you in your neighborhood where you feel safe,” she said.
But in the blink of an eye, it did happen. Ruiz said she was approached by a man who acted like he couldn’t read English.
“He asked me if it spelled chicken broth, and he held it up, and I looked at it and said 'yes, that’s chicken broth,' and he walked down the aisle,” she said.
Ruiz said when she turned around, she felt something wasn’t right and checked her purse for her wallet, but it was gone. She then called police and alerted the store manager. Ruiz would later learn from police that surveillance video showed two men working together. While one distracted Ruiz, the other got away with her wallet.
“They were definitely professionals. They had done it before,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz told NBC Charlotte it took less than 20 minutes before her phone started receiving fraud text alerts. She said the thieves quickly racked up more than $10,000 in charges at Macy’s and Nordstrom at SouthPark Mall. Ruiz said she’s thankful for fraud protection, but she wants to share her story as a reminder to all women that you can never be too careful.
“Remain vigilant no matter where you are,” Ruiz said.