Police warn shoppers after thefts in store lots

Police warn shoppers after thefts in store lots

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BLOOMINGTON — Police are warning shoppers to be vigilant after two incidents at which thieves snatched a bag and a purse in busy store parking lots in Bloomington.

“There are always a small number of people who are trying to take advantage of a situation, whether it’s black Friday or people looting after a tornado,” Bloomington police Sgt. Dan Donath said.

A couple leaving Eastland Mall, 1615 E. Empire St., about 9 p.m. Thursday put down a bag while unlocking their car in a north-side parking lot, police said. A passing man then grabbed the bag and ran toward Empire Street, police said.

In a similar incident about 2 p.m. Friday at Walmart, 2225 W. Market St.,, a man jumped out of a sport utility vehicle, grabbed a purse a woman had left by her car trunk and jumped back into the SUV, which sped away, police said.

The descriptions of the suspects indicated the incidents involved different people. No arrests were made as of Friday afternoon.

People need to pay attention to their surroundings to avoid becoming victims of such crimes, Donath advised. Such criminals look for easy targets and want to make quick, clean getaways, so they will look elsewhere if potential victims taking enough precautions to slow them down, he said.

For example, don’t leave your purse in a shopping cart as you load purchases into your car trunk, he said. Also, look around and make eye contact with people in your surroundings, he said.

“When you make eye contact, it let’s people know you are aware of them and you can give a description of them,” he said.


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