Woman Attacked At Kentucky Mall ; Police Say Attacks More Common This Time Of Year

A Northern Kentucky woman is recovering after a being attacked in a mall parking lot. Investigators say she was the target of a thief looking for an easy target.
Police say crimes like these go up this time of year.

With the biggest shopping days of the year still ahead, Police say this is when shoppers need to be the most careful. But Julie Barnhart found that out the hard way this weekend. She was simply bending in her car putting her child in the back seat when it all happened.

It was 3:30 in the afternoon on A bright, sunny day at the crowded Florence Mall.
Police say this shows just how bold holiday attackers can be.
"I went to put her in her car seat and I was leaning over to buckle her in, someone came up behind me while I was buckling her and hit me repeatedly in the side of the head," explained Barnhart.

The Northern Kentucky mother tried to fend off her attacker, who was trying to take off with her purse.

"I ended up on the floorboard of the car in front of my child screaming and kicking and he got a good five blows before he ran away," Barnhart said as she showed the band-aid on her forehead. Barnhart had to have several stitches after the attack.
Florence Police say the attacker had a driver waiting in an older model red get-away car.

Police say they want holiday shoppers to come to the mall armed with these safety tips:
Be conscious of people near your car or walking behind you.
Always trust your instincts.
If something makes you uncomfortable... Return to the nearest mall entrance.
Most malls offer a safety escort program...Contact customer service if you want more safety information.
And Barnhart wants everyone to learn a lesson from her experience. "I just think it's important for women to know that it was 3:30 in the afternoon. It was broad daylight and it happened so fast, and no one saw anything. They need to be aware this is going on."
But shoppers aren't the only targets this holiday season, in 2005 retailers lost 37 billion dollars from thieves and scammers.
Just this weekend Lexington police arrested a manager at the Lexington Garden Ridge.
Douglass Poessinger is charged with theft by unlawful taking... Police say Poessiger made a number of fake returns at the store and pocketed more than 54-hundred dollars.
Poessiger pleaded not guilty in court Monday. His bond is set at 45-thousand dollars.