Police offer tips on avoiding holiday purse snatchers

By Alan Campbell bio | email

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - In the last three weeks, purse snatchers have tried to steal from several women in parking lots. Now law enforcement agencies are publicizing helpful tips for holiday shoppers.

Anna Gray has been shopping for several years, but says she would not fight back if someone wanted to steal her purse.

"Well I would probably have to let it go for my own safety and not try to fight for it because I might get hurt," Gray said.

Police recommend that victims don't fight back. Instead, they say a call to 911 with a specific description of the suspect and the direction they were headed will keep a person safest.

"If they snatch my purse they would probably get my phone, too, so I would probably yell for help and then go into the store and try to get help that way" said Sherry Callaway.

Crime Preventative Specialist Sgt. Trevor Shelor, says the easiest thing for a thief to steal is a person's wallet or purse, especially when they are not paying attention. He also says the best way for a person to protect his or her wallet or purse is by keeping it close.

"Anytime that it is not on your person is a time that you are setting yourself up," Shelor said.

Shelor also says a person should be aware of their surroundings.

Lauren Ferderigos says she has two young children and that she is always observing what and who is around her.

"I always try to be on the lookout, I'm in and out of my car quickly and I always have my keys on hand," Ferderigos said.

December is one of the busiest shopping months of the year, and for many petty thieves this is the best time for a quick snatch and grab. Shelor gives women a few tips on how they can protect their purses when shopping and not end up a victim.

"When you do carry it, you want to have a zippered purse that closes and you want to have it on your shoulder. Keep it on your shoulder, keep a hand on it and keep it tucked in one with a short strap or its tucked under a ladies arm would be the best route," Shelor said.

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