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Top three surprising places to have your purse stolen

May 27, 2013
Photo of women in line for holy communion, a time when purses can be stolen from the pews.

The last thing on the mind of these women is whether a thug is stealing their purses from the pews. Photo by Susan Watts, New York Daily News.

Whether you carry a small purse with only the essentials, or your bag is stocked for any and all occasions, most purses carry money, credit cards and personal identification — just what the common thief needs for a big payday.

Officer Michael Thomas of the Ross Township Police Department identifies the three most common — yet least expected — places where common street thugs are targeting your purse.

Here’s where to watch your purse extra closely:

  1. The local grocery store: When your purse is in the child carrier of the grocery cart and you turn your back to look at produce, the thug can either grab your entire purse or reach in and snag just the wallet. Either way, your valuables are gone before the carrots hit the cart. To be safe, make sure your purse is zipped or clipped closed and tie the strap around the grocery cart handle. Better yet, keep it closed and strapped to your shoulder, the way you would walking down a city street.
  2. Department store dressing rooms: If you’re shopping with a friend and trying on clothes, don’t make the mistake of leaving the purse in the dressing room while you walk out to show your friend your latest fashion find. That’s an open invitation for an attentive thief to grab your stuff and disappear. Also watch closely for dressing room partitions that don’t reach the floor. If you leave your purse on the floor, the person in the next cube can reach under and grab it — even while you’re changing. Keep your stuff secure by hanging the bag on a hook and taking it with you, even if you walk out for just a minute.
  3. Church: It’s unbelievable but true. Catholics and other Christian denominations have holy communion during services. Feeling comfortable in church, women leave bags unattended in the pews when they walk to the front for communion. The crook simply snags the nearest bag and walks out casually, long before the woman returns to notice the crime. It may feel awkward, but the best way to beat this crime is to simply take your purse with you during communion. (Another church-related crime, mentioned in this New York Daily News article, is theft from vehicles. When you park in the church parking lot and enter the church, the enterprising thug knows exactly how long you’ll be in there — usually an hour or so. That’s plenty of time to break into a car, steal valuables and even drive off with the car itself.)

As far as purses go, Officer Thomas recommends a simple method to keep them safe: leave them at home. Under most circumstances, the only thing you need when you leave your home, he says, is money, a credit card and a driver’s license. Clip them together with a money clip and stick it in your pocket.

That may not sound convenient for many women, but neither is loosing money, canceling your credit cards and replacing your driver’s license. Keep it simple, and keep it safe.

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