Wallet thefts have been on the increase recently in the Mount Airy retail community, with elderly women targeted, according to the Mount Airy Police Department.
Three cases were reported Thursday alone at Wal-Mart.
In all three incidents, which occurred around noon at the Rockford Street store, someone reached inside a purse to remove the wallet.
One of the victims was identified as Mary Virginia Hill Brim of Claudville, Va., who told police that her wallet contained $100 in cash along with a driver’s license, registration card, assorted pictures and an insurance card.
Ivery Inman Scott of Pinnacle also had her wallet stolen, with the loss involving credit cards, a driver’s license and Social Security card.
The third victim was identified as Odelia W. Vaden of Westfield, who reported that her wallet contained personal checks, a VISA ATM card, a Belk credit card and a Social Security card.
A black female was identified as a suspect in all three wallet-snatchings, with one of the victims describing the alleged perpetrator as being about 50 years old.
The recent larcenies are similar to a wave of wallet thefts committed last October in Mount Airy by a suspect fitting that same general description.
Lt. Alan Freeman, a city detective, has said that Mount Airy and other communities are hit by such crimes occasionally, usually by someone from out of town going from store to store. Often, the thefts occur around the first of the month after government checks are mailed, Freeman has said.
A surveillance video from Wal-Mart last fall showed a black female stealing a woman’s wallet while the owner’s attention was diverted and blocked by the thief’s movements. Despite receiving leads on the cases last year, no arrests were made by city police.
Officers have advised that shoppers should be careful about leaving their purses unattended and alert to anyone approaching them in a suspicious manner.
Contact Tom Joyce at email@example.com or at 719-1924.