We all know that in todays’ world one of the top crimes is theft, but thieves are becoming bolder than one can imagine. It may not be a new kind of theft, but nevertheless… it’s on the rise; stealing your personal belongings right under your nose while shopping in stores. It used to be where thieves would shoplift right from the retailers, which is called ‘concealment shoplifting’… still common everywhere, as the person will hide the items under coats and whatnot, then walking out of the store. Then there is ‘Overt shoplifting’ which involves openly stealing from stores, using violence or threatening others and even walking right out of the store with items, as if they paid for them. And of course there is ‘Transaction frauds’ using stolen cards or switching price tags on items, returning stolen merchandise… and this list goes on. However, there is another common theft going on these days; I’m not sure there is a name for this particular crime being committed, but it’s where the consumer is shopping in the store, while being watched by the shoplifter, then targeted for the steal. I was recently told a story of this crime and I couldn’t believe the boldness, so I will share this with you so YOU can be on the lookout next time you find yourself shopping.

The woman enters a major department store to do some sale shopping. After making a purchase she decides to spend some time at the make-up counter for some new products. The sales woman comes over to her to help, so the customer lays her purchase (bag) down on the glass counter, to her right. She then takes her prescription sun glasses off her head and lays them on the bag. Now keep in mind it is within a hands reach of her. After deciding what she was going to purchase at this counter the sales lady asks her to step around the corner to complete the sale. The customer turned her head, for only a brief moment to see where she should go, and then turned to her right to pick up her items. As she glanced at her bag, she was in disbelief that someone had to swiftly walk by at the exact right time and lifted those glasses. There were women all around her, as it was busy… but they weren’t exactly next to her. I couldn’t believe it, as she couldn’t either… as to ‘How’ fast they disappeared. The frames were designer; Coach frames to be exact, but I’m sure the criminal in this case did not know they were prescription. It probably didn’t matter in reality. How sad is this? Very… and it’s amazing how precisely it was done.

Criminals’ of this nature have no feelings; actually most criminals of any kind. I still hurt everyday thinking of how my life was stolen from me… and am still working at healing. I cannot stress enough to others how we must be observant of our surroundings at all times; especially women and children, as we are more vulnerable than men. If you are shopping, do NOT place your purse in an unattended cart. You can be sure you are being watched by somebody. Thieves have no particular age or look. In fact some are very common and could even look like grandparents. It’s just the way it is… a hard fact. Now, most criminals are not of elder ages, but there are some. I think it was about a year ago when a retired couple was caught for identity theft, it was like an actual ring they had going on… this was in Arizona. Shopping centers are targeted everywhere on a daily basis. This past winter in Milwaukee, it was daylight and a woman putting packages in her car was jacked for her vehicle. Crimes are committed at any time of day or night, and are being done in every state.

For what it is worth, always look around you no matter where you are. Remember things and, or… associate faces that are closest to you. If something or someone looks out of place or you have a feeling of uneasiness, try to take a mental snapshot. I also think everyone should play out a scenario as if you were being robbed (or carjacked), as to what your plan of attack is. Some carry mace, while some carry guns… but that gun could be used against you if you have not handled one, so know your limitations and be real about them. It’s unfortunate that these crimes are on the rise, so be pro-active. Most of all… Be SAFE.

Make your week count.