Seattle police searching for three identity theft, fraud suspects
SEATTLE — This story serves as a reminder to all that crimes like pick-pocketing and purse-snatching can happen anywhere, at any time, and it only takes a few seconds before your ID, cash and credit cards are gone.
Police say a couple, caught on surveillance video walking into a West Seattle Target store, weren’t there to shop; they were there to try to use a credit stolen just a few minutes before.
It happened last month at the Japonessa Restaurant in downtown Seattle.
The victim was a woman named Kathy. She asked that we not use her last name.
“I had this purse on my shoulder like this; however, the zipper was facing outward. So this gentleman came up from behind me, bumped into me really hard once and I didn’t think anything of it because it was really crowded. It was Happy Hour time so everyone was literally shoulder to shoulder,” Kathy said.
But then Kathy said the man bumped into her again.
“That’s when I noticed his scarf was hovering over my straps so I thought he was trying to get access to the scarf so I leaned forward to let him do that, not knowing at that time he was using that as a cover to stick his hand in my purse and steal my wallet,” Kathy said.
Even before Kathy could get back home, her credit card companies called and notified her that it appeared she was the victim of credit card fraud.
In fact, the thieves bought more than $3,000 in merchandise from two big box stores.
"Now I'm way more cautious if someone bumps into me. I'm way more aware of my surroundings,” Kathy said.
The man who is believed to have stolen the wallet was wearing a Burberry patterned scarf. He's tall and probably in his 50s. The woman with him appears to be in her 30s and has a medium build.
A second woman believed to be working with the crew and who tried to use one of the cards was wearing bright pink boots and she appears to be in her 20s or 30s with a heavier build.
Already victimized once, Kathy has another concern now -- identity theft -- and she has advice for other women.
"Ladies, just keep your purse tight to you and if someone bumps into you, immediately check your purse to see if someone stole something out of it,” Kathy said.
While they have the video of the suspects police still don`t know who they are. If you can help identify them before they steal from someone else, call Crimes Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.