Purse snatchings at Chesterfield grocery store have police, shoppers on alert

Posted at 10:53 PM, Dec 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-07 23:47:38-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Police tell us four times in the past month a purse has been snatched at a Midlothian Turnpike Martin's grocery store.

They're reminding shoppers as we get into the swing of holiday shopping season to be mindful of what's going on around you.

It’s a busy grocery store off Midlothian Turnpike which shoppers say should make it harder for a thief to pull off a  brazen purse-snatching crime.

Police say think again.

Thursday night a woman was shopping, and as she bent down to pick up an item, her purse was swiped in a flash.

“A lot of people come in a hurry, they've had a long day of work,” shopper Kathryn Esworthy said. “They're preoccupied and not worrying about their purse."

The victim told me over the phone she's embarrassed.  She says she feels foolish.

Other shoppers say they’re guilty of a little complacency, too.  “I don't pay close attention,” Esworthy said.  “I feel safe here so I don't monitor my purse."

One woman said she learned from her years living up north.  “I carry it with me close,”  Lisa Giangregorio said.  “I lived in New York City for 10 years, so I'm a little more careful."

She shops now with the recognition that during  the holidays criminals are looking for an opportunity.  “I'm amazed it happened, but it is Christmas time,” said Giangregorio.  “I guess people need money."

Tanisha Haskins works in a grocery store and says she needs every penny she's earned.  She's opted to not carry a purse but even that sometimes doesn't work.  “I carry this thing, but I do forget it sometimes, too," Haskins said.

While at the salad bar, in the frozen food section, or in an aisle, police say you need to know those are the places where purses have been snatched.   Police plan on releasing surveillance video of Thursday’s crime on Monday.