Tulsa Police asking shoppers to be aware

Thursday, November 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A warning from Tulsa Police as we head into the holiday shopping season. How you can keep from becoming the target of a thief!

Holiday shoppers won't be the only ones heading to the neighborhood grocery store - thieves will be there too, looking for an easy target. Six in Your Corner reporter Diane White offers advice to help you protect your personal belongings. Most people out shopping are trying to get in, get their groceries - and get home - as quickly as possible. But there are risks involved when you rush to fill up your cart.

Checkout counters are in overdrive. Holiday shoppers stocking up. During the holiday rush, grocery shoppers can be easy targets for thieves. "Purse snatching, pick pockets is a crime of opportunity. Do you realize I could pick your purse up and steal it in just two seconds. We're not here to embarrass you or anything - we're just trying to show you some safety precautions to do around the holidays." Tulsa Police Captain Julie Harris took a stroll up and down the aisles looking for possible victims. "Do you realize I could grab your purse and just take off running. I could have grabbed that purse and took off running before you even know what hit you." Customer, "Yeah you could have - I wasn't paying any attention to it." Captain Harris, "Here we go again - we could take it again, you didn't learn your lesson."

She has a keen eye and quick hands, and knows how thieves think. "They see a purse laying there they see a wallet poking out of someone pants - it's an easy target for them to take advantage." Captain Harris, "That's smart because you' can put your thumb around that purse and have extra security." Customer, "that's usually how I carry it." That's Captain Harris's advice - keep purses around your shoulder, close to the body - and not in the cart, something that often happens in the produce section. “Excuse me maam but did you know I could run off with your purse in two seconds. We're here just to show - we're doing a holiday special on how people need to be a little more aware of their surroundings. If I was a kid in tennis shoes, boy I'd be out the door already.”

Police say thieves also look for shoppers who are distracted, for example, if you're using a cell phone, you could easily miss a thief snatching your purse out of the cart.

And if you're shopping with kids, you may want to leave your purse at home or bring something small - something you can carry in your hand or keep in your pocket - and away from thieves.