LEMON GROVE, Calif. — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department released surveillance photos of a man suspected of stealing the wallets of elderly women as they shopped for groceries in Lemon Grove.
Detectives say, over the past year, the man struck at least four times at the Albertsons and Sprouts stores there, following elderly women around the stores, waiting for them to get distracted, then reaching into their purses and grabbing their wallets.
“The victims didn’t realize that they had their wallets stolen until after the fact. It was such a silent snatching of the wallet that they didn’t realize it until they were at the registers and realized, ‘Hey, I did not realize my wallet was stolen,'” said Detective Freddy Herrero.
Herrero says there’s no indication the thief ended up using credit cards — instead, just going for the cash.
“At least in one of my cases he removed all the cash in the wallet and then dumped the wallet. So one victim I have actually was able to recover most of her belongings, minus the cash, because it was dumped outside somewhere and some Good Samaritan had turned the wallet back in,” said Herrero.
The suspect is described as Black, in his 50s, around 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.
A $1,000 reward is offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest, as detectives have had a hard time determining the man’s identity despite the clear security images.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers.