[KHTS] – Detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are looking for suspects in a series of purse snatchings that took place over the weekend.
There were at least four incidents that have deputies seeking the public’s assistance, and asking residents to be careful while holiday shopping.
“All of the incidents are considered ‘strong-armed robberies,’ which means there was forced used, but no weapons involved,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“We believe there are at least two suspects involved in the incidents,” he added.
The first incident reported by a 23-year-old woman who was robbed Saturday at 9:45 a.m. on Jakes Way and Sandy Drive in Canyon Country, according to Sheriff’s Station officials.
Later that day, a 48-year-old woman was robbed at the corner of Silverado Street and Via Canon in Newhall.
In that theft, the victim reported that she was walking home and saw a man in a newer gray four-door sedan, which matched the description given in another reported incident.
There was a struggle in this incident, and the suspect punched the woman in the arm to force her to let go of her purse.
The suspect, who was accompanied by a woman who drove the getaway car, was gone by the time Sheriff’s Station deputies were able to respond to the scene, heading west on Valle Del Oro.
There were two other incidents under investigation from in the early hours Monday morning.
At 12:45 a.m., on the 25000 block of Peachland Avenue in Newhall, a 21-year-old woman was reportedly shoved to the ground as a man in a Dodgers zip-up jacket grabbed her purse and then took off.
The suspect in that crime also took off in a late-model, gray, four-door sedan with another person, this time, heading northbound on Peachland Avenue toward Lyons Avenue.
The fourth incident took place at 4 a.m. Monday morning on the 24800 block of Walnut Street in Newhall, where a woman was pushed down and had her purse stolen.
In this incident, the suspects were two men.
Businesses were not immune to theft either, as a Victoria’s Secret store at the Westfield Valencia Town Center was also hit by a group of thieves.
Four women walked into the store, refused help from store employees and then grabbed about $1,000 worth of high-end bras from a display near the entrance and shoved them into what were possibly large “booster bags” that the women were carrying, according to Sheriff’s Station records.
Reports of thefts and robberies can increase around the holidays with a marked increase in shopping activity, prompting a reminder from deputies.
“Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies always work in concert with the public we serve,” Dubin said. “So we of course ask that if residents see something, they say something, whether it’s a call to the station or our anonymous tip line.”
The Sheriff’s Station number is 661-255-1121, and the anonymous tip line is 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Dubin also shared a list of suggestions, reminders and cautions about holiday shopping:
– Expect to encounter crowds and long lines. When shopping with your children, especially younger children, snap a photo of each one with your smart phone before heading out. If your child becomes separated from you, you will have a current photo and an accurate clothing description to provide to store security and law enforcement.
– Be aware of your surroundings.
– Do not purchase items from non-licenses solicitors in parking lots
– Make sure valuable items are not left in plain sight in vehicles.
– Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. If you see something, say something.
– Practice patience! Long lines can lead to short tempers. Expect to encounter possibly frustrating delays on major shopping days.
– Never leave your purse, wallet, cellphone or shopping cart unattended.
– Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
– Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
– Commit random acts of kindness, and do whatever you know is right! :)
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Deputies will be on-duty and out in force throughout the holidays to help the residents we serve. Before going to holiday events and consuming alcohol, have a plan, and have a designated driver.
– Always stay alert to your surroundings! Do not walk through a parking lot with your head down or on a cellphone.
– Avoid carrying a large amount of cash. Keep cash in your front pocket.
– If possible pay for purchases with a credit card.
– Immediately notify the credit card company if your credit card was lost or stolen.
– Have your keys ready when you leave the store.
– Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle: You’d be surprised how often this happens, but individuals leave valuable items in plain sight all the time. If you leave items in your vehicle and they’re visible, the chances your vehicle will get broken into, increase greatly.
– Place items out of sight BEFORE reaching your destination: Someone may be watching when you put your valuables under a seat or in the trunk and the moment you’re gone, a thief could break into your car. So place those items in a safe place before you get to the park, beach, baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are GPS units, MP3 players, credit cards, money, packages and so forth. If you can’t take the items with you, secure them in a safe place in your vehicle, like a locked glove compartment or your trunk.
– Lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors: This is true even if you plan on only being gone for “just a second.” Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car. It’s not uncommon, for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles, looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren’t left open.
– Park in busy, well lit areas: Pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity. Auto thieves prefer breaking into cars in isolated areas.
– Don’t leave a trace: Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle. For example: the suction cup on your dashboard, might tell thieves, that you have a GPS system in your vehicle. Leave nothing in plain view. Very few auto break-ins are “random”. The thieves usually see something out in the open or hints of possible hidden valuables.
– From everyone at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, please have a happy holiday season, remember the above safety tips, report suspicious activities to law enforcement immediately, and take the time to interact with us on social media, and regardless of whether you live in the city of Santa Clarita, or the unincorporated areas of our great valley, together we can send a “not in Santa Clarita message.”