PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Shoppers in Palm Beach Gardens are advised to beware of thieves snatching purses and wallets at stores.
Major Paul Rogers, the spokesperson for the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, said there have been 18 distracted thefts reported since May. He said this is significantly more than they've ever seen before.
"Normally this is something that is very rare in Palm Beach Gardens," Rogers said.
Rogers said the thefts are often happening as people are shopping.
"People are leaving their purses and other items in shopping carts unattended and having their wallets, cellphones and other personal belongings stolen while they're shopping," Rogers said.
The police department is asking residents to keep a close eye on their belongings while they work to catch the criminals responsible.
There have been more thefts of wallets from unattended purses in housewares and grocery stores in our community recently. Avoid becoming a victim by never leave your purse alone – even for 1 second, carry your purse – don’t leave in cart, use a purse that zips/snaps & be alert! pic.twitter.com/PWQVF4evJw— Palm Beach Gardens Police (@PBGPD) September 1, 2022
"Don't leave your purse unattended, make sure you always have stuff on you," Rogers said. "These criminals walk through the stores like a regular shopper, and they're waiting for that moment that you're not paying attention to take your stuff."
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department has yet to make any arrests but Rogers said their investigative team is following up on leads.