Purse Snatchers Are On The Loose In East Texas

It was the day before Thanksgiving. The parking lot at Target was full. Everyone was busy getting their holiday shopping done, but one man was doing his shopping in the parking lot. One East Texan had her purse stolen and lost $600.00.

Kelly Green of Noonday still cannot believe someone was able to snatch her purse without her even knowing.

"We were unloading the packages in the back of the suburban, and we had the cart between us the entire time and we unloaded the packages, we never walked away from the cart one time," said Green. Even so, someone was able to take her purse.

"It got taken from us, I mean right from under us," said Green. "It just blows my mind that another human being was that close to us and we never knew it." Kelly says after noticing her purse was gone, she began canceling her credit cards, but not before the thief spent $100.00 at a gas station and $200.00 at Wal-mart.

"It's unbelievable because I'm married to a law enforcement officer, so he drills it into my head to be aware and cautious at all times, so I promise I'm aware and I never knew he was there, ever," said Green. Video from a security camera in Wal-Mart shows a man purchasing items using Kelly's credit card. The same man is seen in video taken from the Target security camera. The thief checked out right after Kelly in Target.

"Most of the time they are scoping you out," said Officer Don Martin, Tyler Police Department. "You've got your purse in a buggy and they are kind of looking for that and they will follow you and kind of wait for the opportunity." Police say there are ways to protect yourself. One, be aware of your surroundings because someone might be watching you. Also, keep your purse on you at all times. Don't leave it in your shopping cart. Don't carry all your credit cards or social security cards on you either, and know what's in your purse, so if it is stolen you know what cards to cancel.

"From now on I will always have my purse on me, that's the one thing I'm going to do." Advice everyone should take this holiday shopping season.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com