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Omaha police warn of pickpockets stealing from purses

Omaha police warn of pickpockets stealing from purses

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Omaha police are warning Nebraskans about a group of thieves stealing credit cards out of women’s purses.

Over the past six months, 21 such incidents have been reported in Omaha, most of them at a Panera Bread restaurant and others at retail stores in or around Westroads Mall.

Most of the victims had left purses unattended or slung over a chair. In several of the cases, the pickpockets took the credit cards out of the victim’s wallet and then returned the wallet to the purse, police said. Often before the victims realized the cards were stolen, the thieves used the cards to purchase thousands of dollars worth of items, including electronics and gift cards.

Similar incidents have been reported in Lincoln, Grand Island and Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha police said.

Police advise people not to leave purses unattended or out of sight.

Other tips:

» Carry your purse close to your body.

» Make sure you close your purse completely after opening it.

» When seated in a restaurant, do not put your purse to the outside of a bench seat or hang it on the back of a chair.

» Place your purse on your lap or at your feet when seated and place a leg through the strap.

» Make sure wallets and checkbooks aren’t visible from pockets.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-7867, at omahacrimestoppers.org or on the P3 Tips mobile app.

mara.klecker@owh.com, 402-444-1276

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