“I was probably an easy mark” — Reward up to $1,000 offered for ID of thief who stole 84-year-old woman’s wallet

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WANTED IN DES MOINES —  Betty Huff went 84 years without ever having anything stolen. In fact, she’s never been a victim of any crime — until now — because police are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect who stole the Federal Way woman’s wallet and cell phone right out of her purse.

Huff used to love the purse. “One of the things I liked about it was that it was so open,” — until she saw how easy it was for a thief to reach inside and steal her wallet. “When she walked away from her cart, the individual walked up, reached in, took out her wallet and her checkbook, put it in a bag and walked away,” said Sgt. Dave Mohr with Des  Moines Police.

Surveillance video shows the suspect watching the victim as she shops in the produce aisle at the Redondo Safeway at 27035 Pacific Highway South on October 28th.

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"I was probably an easy mark, don't you think?" said Huff. So easy, unfortunately, that the crook came back for seconds. "He's so brazen that what he's going to do is he's going to monitor her again, from afar and now he's going to return and now he's got her cell phone. He zooms right in like a predator," said Sgt. Mohr.

Betty is much more careful now when she shops after surveillance video from Safeway showed the thief stalking her and she was completely unaware. "I looked in my basket and it was my billfold that was gone and my cell phone and it was like, what's going on? Is something wrong with my head?" said Huff.

Betty quickly called for help. The store manager was able to show her the video of what happened.

Now, police are hoping somebody can identify the thief from the clear images as he leaves the store, wearing a unique scarf and matching tennis shoes. 

"I would like to see him caught for sure. I don't want to see this happen to somebody else. Not at all," said Huff.

Two good things came out of all this: Safeway gave her the groceries for free since she couldn't pay anyway -- and she got a new Coach purse -- one that zips closed. So, now that she's had to spend all that time replacing her ID's, credit cards and cell phone, does she have any advice for other women? "Do I ever. Just be mindful of your bag."

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for any information that leads to the suspect's arrest.  If you know his name or where officers can locate him, submit an anonymous tip at http://www.P3Tips.com or download the P3 Tips App to your cell phone for free.  Tips must be submitted to Crime Stoppers in order for you to receive the cash reward.

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