[KHTS] – A Santa Clarita Valley case of identity theft similar to last year’s “blond scammer” ring has Sheriff’s Station deputies seeking the public’s help and offering a caution, officials said Thursday.
In the current investigation, detectives are asking community members if they can identify a woman suspected of pickpocketing, and then using a stolen wallet to make big purchases at local retail stores.
“In this investigation, we’re asking if the public can help us identify a suspect,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Crime Prevention Unit, “but I also think this shows that residents can’t be too careful with their purse or wallet.”
In this case, the woman was shopping at a Sprouts on the 24200 block of Magic Mountain Parkway, where she was chatted up by a woman.
The victim had her purse in the upper basket portion of her shopping cart while she answered several questions from a women she didn’t know.
Shortly after speaking with the woman, the victim noticed her wallet was stolen, officials said. The victim believes the woman spoke to her with the intent to distract her so a second suspect could steal her wallet.
“It doesn’t take a lot of inattention for a stealthy thief to quietly steal a purse or wallet,” Dubin said. “Do not leave your purse unattended for even a second. Be aware of where your purse is and whether anyone is around.”
Following the theft of the wallet, an unidentified suspect used the victims’ credit cards to purchase several thousand dollars’ worth of merchandise at a nearby retail location in the same shopping center.
The purchase appears to have taken place mere minutes after the theft of the wallet.
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station initiated an immediate investigation into the theft and fraudulent use of the victim’s credit card.
The investigation revealed a woman (pictured in the photograph released by Sheriff’s Station officials) who entered the retail location posing as the victim and used her credit cards to purchase items.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Deputies are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the woman seen in the attached photograph.Detectives are still trying to determine if the suspect shown in the attached photographs worked alone or with a crime partner (second suspect).
If you have any information regarding these incidents please contact Detective Marino at 661-255-1121 or at MTMarino@lasd.org – If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the websitehttp://lacrimestoppers.org
Lastly, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputies want to remind you that purses or wallets taken from shopping carts in grocery and other stores is a fairly common crime.