CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Grocery shoppers in Charlotte's SouthPark neighborhood are sharing a warning with others to avoid falling victim to a crime of opportunity where suspected thieves steal your wallet right out of your grocery cart without you even noticing.
According to police reports, a similar scenario happened twice in the same day to two different victims shopping at the Whole Foods Market on Fairview Road in SouthPark.
Amanda Long was one of the victims. She said she placed her purse in the grocery cart like she always does. Everything seemed fine at first.
“I didn’t leave the cart, but I may have turned to reach for something," Long said.
She finished her shopping trip and checked out using her phone like usual. That's when something unusual happened.
“I started getting texts from Bank of America, 'Did you make this purchase,' and I looked like, 'Whoa no, I did not,'” Long said.
After searching her purse in a panic, Long said she then realized her wallet had been stolen at some point while she was shopping. Police said the suspected thieves went to nearby SouthPark Mall and attempted to use Long's stolen credit cards to buy $2,000 worth of items at the Apple Store and more than $4,000 at Nordstrom. Those purchases were declined.
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Long said this serves as a lesson learned for her and hopefully a warning for others to be more aware.
“I’m watching my things a little bit more," Long said. "I’m holding my purse a little bit closer, and to be honest, I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling I can’t trust the people around me."
Bag safety tips to keep in mind while grocery shopping:
- Keep purse zipped or completely closed
- Attach child seat strap to the purse handle to keep more secure
- Never leave your cart unattended with your purse still in it
- Carry a purse that you can keep attached to you at all times
In a statement, a Whole Foods Market spokesperson said: “We take theft very seriously and will cooperate fully with local law enforcement.”
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