CINCINNATI - Attention, shoppers!
Next time you head out to the mall or the grocery store, be on the lookout for purse snatchers.
The Clermont County Sheriff's Office says purse snatching is happening around the Tri-State. By the time you get from the store entrance to your car, your belongings could become someone else's.
The crime scene could be nearly any shopping center parking lot, and officials say criminals typically work in pairs with a plan.
"They can just drive-by and one of them leans out the passenger side, usually while the other person slows down, and as soon as they grab the purse that way, away they go," said Sheriff A.J Rodenberg, Jr.
So what can you do to stay safe?
"When I get to the car, I try to put my purse or my wallet in the car first," said shopper Natalia Cutwright.
"I feel like you're more of a target if you have a big purse and they can just take it right off your shoulder, so I just try to keep it close," said Amber Pennington.
The sheriff's office also recommends parking close to the store entrance. And instead of carrying a purse, choose a smaller wallet you can easily stick in your pocket.
"If you see a car that just looks like it's going up and down aisles and there are open parking spots and they're not pulling in, it's likely they're up to no good," the sheriff said.
In one case, purse snatchers charged more than $1,000 to a credit card within an hour after the theft.
According to police, the biggest key to solving purse snatching crimes is for the victim to get a good description of the suspect and their car.