Two suspects were taken into custody on suspicion of grand theft, fraud and elder abuse for allegedly stealing wallets and purses from people while they were shopping in Burbank in recent months.
A 48-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman, both Los Angeles residents, were arrested Tuesday, the Burbank Police Department said in a statement.
They were booked on suspicion of grand theft, fraudulent use of credit cards, and elder abuse, all felonies. Their bail was set at $275,000, with formal charges pending from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Burbank police had asked for the public’s help identifying the pair earlier this month.
In at least three alleged crimes, “the suspects targeted elderly retail shoppers, stealing their wallets in distraction style thefts,” police said.
Police also said, “Detectives have noted a common pattern among thieves who are targeting shoppers carrying purses or bags while shopping at local retailers. In these instances, multiple suspects will work together to distract the victim by talking to them or brushing up against them while pretending to shop for goods.
“Simultaneously, the suspect(s) will reach into an open and/or unattended purse and take the victim’s wallet.”
The suspects then use the victims’ credit cards to make purchases, police said.
“By the time the victims have realized their wallets were stolen, their credit cards have already been used at nearby businesses to make fraudulent purchases,” police said.
Anyone with information regarding the series of thefts is urged to contact the department’s Investigations Division at (818) 238-3210.
First published in the September 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.