Woman's purse snatched while shopping at Surfside Walmart
By Christel Bell| December 4, 2014 at 6:59 AM EST - Updated July 11 at 7:34 AM
SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The search continues for a suspect wanted in a purse snatching at a Surfside Beach Walmart.
According the Horry County Police report, on Tuesday night, the victim stated she was shopping at the Walmart and walked out into the parking lot to put her items in the trunk of her vehicle. The victim stated that while she was placing the items into her trunk, she left her handbag in the top portion of the shopping cart. The victim stated that the suspect drove up in a vehicle and said, “Hey,” as he drove by. The suspect reached his left arm out the window and grabbed the victim's handbag out of the cart he drove by, according to the police report.
Law enforcement say this is a reminder that while you are out holiday shopping, thieves are out lurking.
Lt. Kenneth Hofmann with the Surfside Police Department said unfortunately, 'tis the season for criminals, he adds it is important for holiday shoppers to keep their ears and eyes open.
“At this time when everybody is out shopping they're distracted, they've got a lot on their mind maybe carrying large amounts of cash to make purchases, the criminals are definitely out there and looking for those opportunities,” Hofmann said.
Hofmann recommends if you must have a purse when out shopping, keep the strap in your hands all times, and if you can, travel light.
“If you don't need the purse don't take the purse, if you have pockets, and you're just going to be using a debit card and your drivers' license and some things, maybe try to cut down on the number of items that you are actually carrying around as you increase the items that you purchase," Hofmann explains.
From the store to the car, there are a lot things happening: traffic, children, other shoppers, so for your safety, eliminate distractions, Hofmann recommends.
“Don't be texting as you are walking up to your car or on the phone just cut down on those distractions so you can focus on your safety,” Hofmann said. "During that time when you are exiting the store and getting to your car that someone is going to take advantage of you. Put the phone down, and get to your vehicle as quickly and as safely as possible."
Hofmann said shoppers should always stay one step ahead. He adds, “When leaving the store, we always recommend that you have your keys in your hand, so you're not fumbling around looking for the keys in your purse, or in your pocket and setting things down on the ground.”
Hofmann said he hopes these tips will help keep shoppers alert and cautious during the holiday season. He said he doesn't want people to be afraid to enjoy the holidays, he says law enforcement just want the season to be a good and positive time.
The victim in the purse-snatching described the suspect as a white male, in his mid 30's, with short brown hair.
Horry County Police Investigators reviewed the video surveillance that showed the suspect was driving a mid to late 2000's model Infinity G35, a four-door light gray sedan. If you have any information about this case, contact Horry County Police.