Bellevue Police: Purse-snatching duo targeting unsuspecting customers in restaurants

BELLEVUE, Wash. – An Auburn couple wants you to be on the lookout for two women who the police say are targeting people at area restaurants.

The first store hit was a Panera Bread in Lynnwood, where police say the two suspects stole a woman’s purse.  And, police say, they then hit up another Panera -- this time in Woodinville.

When they got to Bellevue, they stole the wallet and purse of a couple at the Maggiano’s there.  Each time making away with credit cards and racking up big bills for the unsuspecting victims.

Tucked away in their Bellevue home, the Treibels are happy to make their own meals.  They’re still upset about their last visit to Maggiano’s in Bellevue for a family gathering.

“I suddenly get this text alert from the bank that $1,500 has been charged on your credit card,” said Dennis Treibel.

It turns out someone tried to make the big-ticket purchase on his stolen card.

“So, I reached for my purse, it was hanging on the back on my chair.  And I was like, wait a minute, and then I reached for the other side and there was no purse at all,” said Debbie Treibel.

The Treibels became the third known victims of two female suspects, police say.  Bellevue Police believe the duo have been snatching purses and wallets from people across the Puget Sound.

“They would then immediately go to a local supermarket, or retail store and try and use the victim’s credit cards to buy gift cards,” said Bellevue officer Seth Tyler.  “These suspects went on a theft spree back in December and we have no reason to believe they’re stopping, so we want to get them in custody before they keep victimizing folks and stealing more credit cards and stealing more identities.”

In the video, you can see the women are trying to fit in but take a closer look.  Both women are wearing knee-high winter boots and are heavier-set women.  One is blonde and the other has dark-colored hair.  In the surveillance video, you can see them casually strolling restaurants looking for someone who isn’t expecting to be their next target.  It’s not just about the money they took but other items.

“My license and my prescription glasses and all these things -- new phone, new purse,” said Debbie Treibel.

They said they also lost their sense of safety and security.  So Debbie Treibel is getting the word out: don’t make the same mistake she did.

“Ever since then, I’ve been saying, do not put your purse on your chair at all. I haven’t even been taking mine to restaurants because I’m so nervous now,” said Treibel.

If you recognize these women, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-22-TIPS (8477).  You can leave anonymous tips.