Police warn public of purse thefts in Perry Co.

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Police are still looking for a theft suspect in Hazard that they consider dangerous. More surveillance video of his latest purse snatching that just happened Tuesday has been released and we talked to one of his alleged victims.

James Barger, the man police believe is responsible for several purse snatchings at Food City has allegedly struck again since out story earlier this week. Police and one of the alleged victims said they want others to be on alert.

Hazard Police officers said they believe women are being targeted at Hazard businesses, including Food City.

Surveillance video from inside the business Tuesday showed a man police say is Barger grabbing a purse from a shopping cart.

“Seems like these kind of crimes escalate after thanksgiving and through the Christmas holidays,” said Captain Jason Duff of the Hazard Police Department.

Duff said they are still searching for James Barger.

Chief Minor Allen told the Hazard Herald they found evidence Barger had recently been camping in the woods at Lower Second Creek in Bonnyman. He said they found pictures of him posing with suspected marijuana and a gun. He and other officers advised everyone to be on alert.

“Just be a little bit more vigilant of your surroundings,” said Duff.
“Don't leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart don't leave your purse out in your buggy when you empty your shopping cart out into your car.”

Law enforcement said people should never leave their purses in the front seat of a car, even if just for a few seconds. They said that is all it takes for them to get stolen.

“Never leave anything visible to anyone that can walk by and look inside a vehicle, electronic devices, cell phones, GPS systems, things like that,” said Duff.

One victim said she is thankful police responded quickly and hopes others do not decide to steal to make ends meet.

“I know that there are a lot of churches helping people and I hope people who need things will seek help through those sources,” said Linda Gayheart, a theft victim.

Gayheart said she wants women to be more aware, not more afraid.

“I think it is very important if something like this happens that you call the police immediately,” said Gayheart.
“I was so thankful that Officer Everidge responded immediately and he was so courteous and very thorough,” said Gayheart.

Police asked that you do the same because Barger is a convicted felon. They said anyone who sees him should not approach him, but call them immediately.

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