MGN Online

Published: Jul 17, 2014 3:31 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 17, 2014 4:30 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is warning women to guard their purses while they are shopping, and are asking for assistance in identifying suspects involved in two separate incidents of purse thefts at local grocery stores.

On Tuesday, just after 2:00 p.m., a woman was pushing her shopping cart of groceries to her car in the parking lot of the Winn Dixie, located on Tamiami Trail . While she was in the process of unloading the groceries, suspects in what was described as a late model van pulled up next to the cart and grabbed her purse from it. They sped away with the purse, leaving the victim standing, unharmed, in the parking lot.

On Wednesday, just before 5:00 p.m., another woman, who had her purse over her shoulder, was pushing a grocery cart to her car in the parking lot of the Publix, located on Cochran Blvd. Just as she approached her car, an unspecified type vehicle drove past her and someone inside grabbed her purse strap. The victim was dragged for a short time until the strap broke and the vehicle left with her purse. The victim suffered minor injuries.

Detectives request that anyone who may have seen or have information about either incident to please call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101 (ask for District Investigations), or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477). Detectives are investigating both cases. At this point, detectives do not know whether the two incidents are related.

Women should take care about safeguarding themselves and their purses while shopping. Keep your cash or credit cards in a pocket, if possible, to avoid carrying a purse. If you do carry a purse, try to limit the items in it. If you are going to place your purse in your cart, strap it in so it isn’t as easy to take. Try not to be alone when taking your cart to your vehicle. When you get to your vehicle, attend to putting your purse inside immediately. And, above all, always be aware of your surroundings.