Local Police Warn of Purse Thefts

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Knoxville (WVLT) - As the holidays roll in, purse thefts will be on the rise; and it can happen in the blink of an eye.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt spoke with a woman whose purse was stolen right out of her grocery cart as she stood next to it.

A normal day at the grocery store, turned into a nightmare for Mary Kidwell.

She now has dozens of phone calls to make and accounts to cancel after her purse was stolen from her cart in Kroger.

"They were very sneaky, they looked like a regular customer with a grocery cart because I never noticed anybody that was suspicious," Mary says.

She immediately told managers who started searching the store.

"My first thought was call the credit card companies," Kidwell says.

Within minutes her credit card company told her that over 100 dollars had already been taken out of her account at 2 different gas stations here on Clinton Highway.

"I spoke with the sales clerk who actually let the woman charge my credit card. She said, 'I asked for her picture ID, and the woman said she didn't have one, she went back out to her car, and produced a health insurance card and a social security card," Kidwell says.

Both from Mary's purse, and unfortunately this time of year, purse thefts go up.

"People are thinking about Christmas, they're trying to figure out a way they can find money, cash, credit cards to purchase gifts," says Darrell DeBusk, KPD spokesman.

Time and money can be saved by simply carrying your purse close to you, not leaving it unattended. Never carry anything of value, and never leave a purse in your car.

(Judy Daniel)
"Everything you have is in your wallet, or in your purse, I mean I can't imagine having to replace my license and credit cards, social security cards and all that stuff you keep in there," says Judy Daniel, a concerned shopper.

While Kidwell may be able to replace her credit cards and drivers license, her trust may be lost for good.

"I just feel so violated and it will probably last for a long time," Kidwell says.

There was another purse theft a week ago at the Wal-Mart on Clinton Highway.

A police report was filed for both cases with the Knoxville Police Department; there are no firm suspects at this time.