Women tend to carry their whole lives in their purses, yet, they are quick to leave them in cars or put them in a shopping cart. Tulsa Police say they are seeing an increase in the number of purses stolen from those two places.
Victims always say it happened so fast, so I decided to see just how easy it is to walk off with a purse.
I first reported on this crime 15 years ago. I went to the Reasors at 41st and Yale to "steal" purses and was amazed how easy it was and how many I got.
This time, I thought with all the training and safety tips, it would be different, but going to the same store and using the same technique, I got the same results.
The first victim with her purse in her cart was Clara. I sailed right by and grabbed her purse, even though she was just inches from it. Within a few minutes a look of panic crossed her face.
Lori: "Hi, I'm Lori Fullbright with channel 6 news."
Clara: "Ohm my purse."
Lori: "Yes, honey, I'm not trying to give anyone a heart attack; I'm just doing a story about purse safety."
Clara said she should've known better because she had her purse stolen at a grocery store a few years ago; they took $600.
Next up are Sharon and Sally. When I see two women together, I figure one of them will notice, but I was able to take the purse, walk away, turn around and wait. Five minutes passed before they realized it was missing.
They were shocked how fast it happened and relieved I had it and not a bad guy.
Sharon and Sally: "I try to be aware of that, so I'm not unaware of it."
Lori: "It's funny, so easy to get distracted, it can happen in a minute."
Sharon and Sally: "It is, yeah."
My next victim was Martha. I took her purse and waited. She walked right by cart and looked at it, but didn't notice her purse. When I returned it and explained what had happened, she said she usually carries it on her arm but not that day.
Lori: "Had I been a bad guy, I would've been shopping right now."
Martha: "Yeah right, with all my credit cards."
Sojourner also became a victim. I took her purse and she noticed it's missing within about five minutes.
Lori: "Do you know why I'm following you?"
Lori: "I stole your purse, girlfriend."
She admitted she needed to be more careful.
"I've seen this on TV and thought, ‘oh, that won't happen to me," she said.
After being successful multiple times, I was no longer timid in my thievery when I found Jean. I walked right up to her basket and took it.
Lori: "Are you usually aware?"
Jean: "I usually have it on my shoulder. I just have been running around and got tired of carrying it."
Nancy was an easy target because she was engrossed in picking a birthday card. In less than five minutes she had the same familiar look of panic come across her face.
Lori: "Maybe put your hand on it or something."
Nancy: "OK, I'll do it."
Lori: "I"m glad it's me and not a bad guy."
My final victim was Charlene. When her back was turned, I lifted her purse and put it into my cart, but she didn't notice right away. I followed Charlene all over the store waiting to see if she noticed, but she continued to shop.
I started to wonder if I would be following her to check out before she noticed, but I eventually gave up and returned her purse then explained I had it the whole time.
Lori: "I have been following you from there to there to there and I had your purse the whole time."
Charlene: "I was so intent on finding shrimp."
While she was finding shrimp, a thief would've been using her debit and credit cards to buy hundreds of dollars in gift cards and other items and would've been passing her checks.
The best place for a purse is physically on you, not buckled into the safety seat or even under your food.
I want to thank the ladies for being good sports and Reasors for partnering with us for the important safety lesson.
You might be able to recoup your credit card losses, but you're out the cash and you will be spending hours sorting it all out and replacing everything.
If you carry a purse, keep it on you and never leave it in your vehicle. If you put it in the trunk, do so at home, not once you arrive somewhere, because if crooks see you, they will break your window, flip your trunk release button and take it.
Also, make a copy of everything in your wallet, front and back, every couple of months so you'll know what you have and who you need to call to shut it off or replace it.