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Police release new pickpocket suspect photos

Posted at 4:57 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 20:06:26-04

It can happen to any woman that carries a purse and lead to shock and frustration.  Pickpocketers are targeting people right here in the metro, and now more photos of the suspects are being released.

Authorities say it's a group of people connected to similar thefts in the Kansas City area.  Surveillance video released by Olathe, Kansas Police shows exactly how they work.  They sit close to an unsupecting patron sometimes bump their chair as a distraction, and grab the wallet out of their purse.  The suspects apparently use the credit cards immediately on thousands of dollars in goods at places like Target and Best Buy before the victim even knows it.

Barbara Moore said she was at the Panera on 134th & West Maple Rd. with her husband when her wallet was stolen on a Sunday afternoon.

"I just felt very violated and i was mad because everything in your wallet was now gone and it takes a lot of work to get everything back," Moore explained.

Police say the thieves are targeting older females in nicer areas of town.  The similar thefts happened almost 2 dozen times in Omaha, and Papillion mostly at local Panera Bread restaurants or places near Westroads Mall.

Omaha Police released photos of at least 7 different suspects that robbed people since October. Now, Papillion Police released two new photos.  Papillion Police Chief Scott Lyons says they try to blend in with the crowd.

"Don't let it out of your sight, keep it in front of you at all times or on your person, don't put it on the back of your chair or on the floor," Chief Lyons explained.

If you know who any of these people are call OPD at (402)-444-7867...or Papillion PD at (402)-597-2035.

Here are tips from OPD on what to do with your purse at a restaurant:

1.    Carry your purse next to your body, under your arm, and with a strap over your opposite shoulder.

2.    After opening your purse be sure to close it up either by strap, snap, magnetic closure, or zipping it closed.

3.    Never leave your purse unattended or out of sight.

4.    Wallets and checkbooks should not be visible from pockets.

5.    When seated in a restaurant do not set your purse to the outside of a bench seat or hanging on the back of your chair (where it can be easily accessed by others)

6.    Place your purse on your lap or at your feet when seated - not directly under your seat where it cannot be seen.

7.    One way to maintain control of your purse and keep you from forgetting it: Place a leg through the straps and let it hang from your thigh while you are eating.