VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Christine Cummins said she will no longer carry a purse after she was targeted by a team of criminals as she put her groceries in her car at a Fred Meyer store in Vancouver.
In fact there have been a rash of purse snatchings in Vancouver targeting women who are grocery shopping alone, officials said. There are also reports of similar incidents along the Vancouver waterfront and grocery store parking lots across the city.
Cummins was in the parking lot at the Fred Meyer in the Fisher’s Landing neighborhood when she was putting her groceries in her trunk.
“Somehow I had this feeling in my head someone was behind me and, sure enough, I turned around and there was a guy standing there and he pulled his mask down and said, ‘Ma’am’ and that’s when he grabbed my purse and took off,” Cummins told KOIN 6 News.
The suspect jumped into the back of a waiting red car with several people inside. Within minutes the crooks were busy purchasing $500 gift cards at another Fred Meyer and Walgreens in Battle Ground.
“We had to change all the locks. I had to rekey my car becasue they have keys to my car and could come back and steal my car,” Cummins told KOIN 6 News. “Not to mention get a new cell phone, close all the credit cards.”
Her daughter, Angelina, posted a warning on NextDoor and immediately learned her mom was not alone.
“As of right now, 204 people have responded and 287 people have made comments about it,” she said.
Several people claim similar experiences in recent weeks.
“One lady was down on the waterfront. She put her purse on her table and the guy came up and said, ‘Ma’am’ and grabbed her purse and ran. Within minutes they ran to Grand Station Fred Meyer and charged over $2800 on her card,” Cummins said.
“The frustrating part is this has been going on for weeks and women need to be aware that it’s happening,” she said, “and they just do it in broad daylight.”