A moment of distraction cost one woman her wallet in a South Bay Wal-Mart, and Chula Vista Police are warning other residents to stay alert as they run their errands.
Security footage shows the victim with a young child walk in to the Wal-Mart at 1360 Eastlake Parkway on May 8, investigators say.
As soon as she enters the door, an unidentified man began following her throughout the store, waiting for her to be distracted.
He found his opportunity when she turned her back and left her purse exposed in the shopping cart. Police say the suspect grabbed the victim’s wallet from the bag and immediately left the store.
After media reports on the crime, Chula Vista police say the suspect was arrested after he was identified as a repeat offender who was currently on parole.
Detectives tracked him through his GPS bracelet.
Officers say they arrested the suspect with the victim's credit cards and other property in his possession.
According to the CVPD, this type of theft has become a growing trend countywide. Organized criminal groups are targeting distracted shoppers in busy stores, lifting wallets, cell phones and other valuables.
Last December, a group of suspects was caught on camera trying to distract a woman in Whole Foods store so they could take her wallet from her purse.