Caught on camera: Pickpocket steals grandmother's wallet at Irvine Spectrum Center

The thief blended in by pretending to take photos of the carousel while actually sliding his hand in the woman's pocket to take her wallet.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Police are searching for a man and woman caught on surveillance video pickpocketing a wallet from a grandmother who had her grandchild in her arms while in line for the carousel at the Irvine Spectrum Center.

The theft happened at the end of October, but the Irvine Police Department shared the video Tuesday, hoping to create more awareness during the busy holiday shopping season.

The video shows a man and a woman following the grandmother into the line. Police told NBC4 they were trying to blend in by pretending to take photos or film children on the ride, while one of them stuck their hand in the grandmother’s purse and took her wallet.

You're here to enjoy your time with your family and do such an innocent thing like be with your grandkids and go on a carousel… I would feel violated if I was her,” said Santa Ana Mother Daniela Vazquez, who brought her children to the shopping center Wednesday.

Irvine police said these crimes of opportunity have been happening more often in the last year.

Shoppers at Irvine Spectrum also said they’ve had bags stolen while shopping there.

“It makes me want to have eyes in the back of my head. Because you never know. The people have bad intentions. Especially during the holiday times,” Vazquez added.

Surveillance video from another incident in the summer shows a man in sunglasses following a woman around a grocery store, waiting for her to lean into a freezer for an item before taking her wallet out of her purse in the shopping cart.

Tips to keep in mind when in public places:

  • Keep as much distance from strangers as possible
  • Keep purses and bags zipped up
  • Never leave purses/bags in a shopping cart or stroller

Police are still trying to identify the two thieves at the carousel. Anyone with information is asked to email

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