Two women targeting a shopper in Dana Point were caught on camera distracting the woman and snatching her purse, prompting the sheriff's department to warn Thanksgiving shoppers.
Orange County Sheriff's Department released the video Tuesday, saying the women start off with a harmless conversation.
"I'm hosting a party and know nothing about cheese -- can you help?"
Shoppers leave their purses in the child seat area of the cart, and the thieves take notice, authorities said. While one person asks you for your cheese expertise, another is sticking their fingers in your wallet, and grabbing a whole different kind of cheddar.
"We have seen an increase in these types of thefts in multiple cities across the county," said undersheriff Don Barnes. "With the holidays approaching, stores are likely to be busier and shoppers are likely to be more distracted. We want to encourage residents to stay alert and aware and protect their belongings."
The Orange County Sheriff's Department investigators had these tips:
Keep your cart and your belongings in view at all times.
Make sure your purse is always zipped up or securely closed. For an added measure of security, use the child restraint straps and fasten them through the handles of your purse.
If your purse must stay in the cart, pile some grocery items on top of it to make it a less desirable target.
Re-evaluate whether you need to carry your entire purse into the store. If possible to only carry your method of payment, lock your purse in your trunk.
When loading groceries into your car, don't leave your purse unattended. Make your personal items the first thing you put in your vehicle.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Don't get into drawn out conversations with someone you don't know, and if someone appears suspicious, report it.
Anyone who recognizes the wallet snatchers in the video above is asked to call 714-647-7000, press 9 then press 1.