East Hawaii News

HPD Warns Public about ‘Purse Snatchers’

April 2, 2015, 11:14 AM HST
* Updated April 2, 11:17 AM
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Shoppers are being warned by the Hawai’i Police Department not to leave handbags unattended while shopping.

The public warning follows a string of reports, beginning in February, of elderly women having their purses stolen from their shopping carts.

HPD officials say each of the incidents happened while the women were shopping and momentarily turned their backs at various stores in the Hilo area.

Investigations regarding the thefts are active.

It only takes seconds for someone to steal a bag out of a cart while a shopper is turned away according to Lieutenant Gregory Esteban from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section.

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“We are advising women to keep their handbags on their person while out in public to avoid being a target of theft,” Esteban said. “Often, the theft of a handbag can lead to additional crimes, such as unauthorized use of a credit card and identity theft.”

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Anyone who has been a victim of purse snatching should report the incident to police immediately by calling HPD’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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