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Purse thefts on the rise in Lexington


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's not only a threat to your safety, but also your identity. Purse snatchings are on the upswing in Lexington. Police say the elderly and grocery store parking lots are easy targets.

One victim is over 70 and scared, that's all she wants you to know about her, as well as what happened to her on April 13th.

"I naturally went shopping. It was around noon," says the victim.

That was her weekly routine, one she hasn't had the courage to repeat since.

"It is so quick that they do this that you don't realize that it's happening to you until it's done," the victim says.

She had finished shopping and went to her car to unload her groceries at the Kroger in Tates Creek Center.

"I could blame myself a lot because I took my purse off my shoulder and sat it on my cart so I could put my groceries in the car," the victim says. "The next thing I know someone is whizzing past me, just in a car and takes off."

With that, she was one of a growing number of purse snatching victims.

"They take more than that - I'm afraid to go shopping, I'm scared to leave my car in the parking lot because they have my car keys now," the victim says.

Her extra set of car keys, drivers license, cash, social security card and her confidence gone.

"The people have got to be caught and it's got to be stopped," she says. "We don't want people to be suspicious or scared all the time but you have to be aware of your surroundings."

Because this is a crime that is on the upswing, WKYT filed an open records request with Lexington police.

We asked for the number of purse snatchings for March and April of 2013 as well as March and April of 2014.

The numbers are small. There were only four reported in the two month period last year. But there were 8 purse thefts reported in the same time frame this year.

"We have seen an increase-- about 100 percent," she says. "I think they are aiming at the old people because they know we don't fight back, there's not much we can do."

As Sherelle Roberts with Lexington police says, these thieves are also targeting grocery stores - or parking lots looking for easy grabs.

"When we're talking about people they're probably going to look for someone who maybe can't chase them down, wouldn't be able to defend themselves," Roberts says.

To protect yourself police say make sure your purse is zipped and keep it on your shoulder with your arm around it at all times.

Roberts says some recent cases have involved thieves taking wallets out of purses without the victim even noticing.


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