Suspects prey on elderly Publix shoppers

Search for thieves targeting shoppers

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- Three individuals who distracted elderly female shoppers at two Plant City Publix supermarkets used their advantage to steal their wallets from shopping carts.

Plant City detectives want the public's help to identify the suspects, who allegedly used the victims' stolen credit cards to purchase more than $1000 in gift cards at a nearby CVS Health store.

The thefts took place between Oct. 28 and Nov. 13 when the suspects regularly approached the shoppers. As one suspect talked to a potential victim, another suspect would remove the wallet, the Plant City Police Department said.

"Nine times out of 10, those types of people are opportunists. They won't look for a hard target, they want an easy target," said Sgt. Al Van Duyne. "Our advice is always to just try to make yourself as hard a target as possible."

Police say keep your purse zipped and or keep a grip on your purse while you shop.


The suspects are described as two females and one male and are seen in surveillance photos released by Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay. They left the stores on each occasion in a blue Ford full-size passenger van.

A reward of up to $3,000 has been offered by Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay for information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspects. Leave an anonymous tip at 800-873-TIPS (8477), online or at the P3Tips mobile application.

For more information on the case, contact PCPD Public Information Office at (813) 757-9200.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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