Thieves target 80-year-old shopper in La Jolla - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Thieves target 80-year-old shopper in La Jolla

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Police are asking for your help to find a pair of thieves who got away with an elderly woman's wallet. The crime was sneaky and quick, but it was all caught on surveillance camera.

Security video from Whole Foods in La Jolla shows the woman being approached by a stranger who points and asks her for help finding something in the frozen foods aisle. His alleged partner in crime comes in while she has her back turned, checks for witnesses then swipes her wallet from her shopping cart.

"We believe that they're probably connected to other crimes. We're asking for the public's help in identifying who these people are," SDPD Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

The video shows the two men leaving the aisle before the woman realizes her wallet -- worth over $400 in total -- is gone. But the suspects couldn't escape security cameras that captured several high-quality photos.

Police say the crime happened on December 29, and they're hopeful the pictures will lead to a quick arrest.

"Anybody that would think of committing a crime… so much in today's society is photographed, whether it be somebody's cell phone or a camera in a store, and the quality of the photos are getting better and better, and these photos are just an example of that," Mayer said.

We showed the video of the suspect making the swipe to Ruth Handell, who shops at the La Jolla store. She wonders how they got away.

"I was surprised that somebody didn't see him," Ruth said.

She says she doesn't wear her jewelry when she's out to begin with it, and now she thinks she will be even more cautious in the future.

"I hear all kinds of things that happen, so I try not to wear anything and keep myself safe," she said.

A Whole Foods representative tells us the company is aware of several stores throughout the region that have been hit by similar thieves. Meanwhile, San Diego police are reminding shoppers both young and elderly to watch their possessions.

"It's always good to have (your bag) around your arm, your shoulder, snapped, locked. Anything you can do so that it's not just open and visible with easy access," Mayer said.

San Diego County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. Their number is (888) 580-8477.

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