COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Westerville Division of Police is warning shoppers to take preventative measures against purse thieves.
WPD is investigating two purse thefts that recently occurred in the Westerville Square parking lot near Walmart.
Police say one woman was targeted leaving the store while another’s purse was stolen as she entered the store.
The Westerville crimes are similar to numerous purse thefts around Columbus.
To reduce the risk of becoming a victim, police recommend the following safety tips:
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid texting and talking on your phone or other distractions.
- Secure a purse/bag on your body. Close or zip any open portions, pull the strap in the crossbody position if possible and place inside or underneath a coat/jacket.
- Secure your purse/bag inside a locked vehicle before loading/unloading. Keep your purse/bag on your body as much as possible during your trip.
- Do not place in the cart or inside other bags while shopping. Shop in pairs or small groups when possible.
- Avoid carrying cash, gift cards and unnecessary debit/credit cards or other valuables.
- Park in a spot that is open and visible. In the evening, park as close as possible to light poles.
Police say anyone approached by an armed thief should throw the purse, bag, or wallet in one direction, then run the opposite direction before calling 9-1-1.