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Police ask for help identifying purse snatcher

MARYSVILLE, Wash. – Detectives with the Snohomish County Property Crimes Unit has asked the public for help identifying a woman they believe is snatching purses from unsuspecting shoppers.

Investigators said it has happened at least three times in area grocery and department stores, adding this type of crime becomes more prevalent around the holidays.

“It was a matter of seconds, and I think she was probably waiting for that opportunity,” said Stepheny Schackman who had been victimized.

It happened to her last month inside the Marysville Grocery Outlet store.

“I parked my cart on the other side and turned for a moment,” she said. “That’s all it took.”

Schackman is not alone. Detectives believe the same suspect has hit at least three shoppers in the area including the Target store in Smokey Point.

Detectives believe there could be outstanding victims.

“They’re going to the gyms, leaving their wallets and purses in there while they work out,” said Sgt. James Maples. “Even in the shopping stores, they turn their back for one moment and keep their purses open rather than leaving it on their person, and people are stealing it.”

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Callers to 1-800-222-TIPS may remain anonymous.

Detectives suggest women can protect themselves by carrying purses around the torso instead of leaving them in shopping carts.