Home NEWS Local Scene “Purse Miners” Score Again, This Time In Lafayette

“Purse Miners” Score Again, This Time In Lafayette

Photo: Surveillance camera capture

This has been happening so regularly lately we were wondering if it is a “thing,” and apparently it is.

An Orinda woman shopping at Trader Joe’s in Lafayette Jan. 16 encountered another shopper who apparently waited until she was distracted before exploring her purse and lifting her wallet – the thief heading straight to Walnut Creek and the Target store to purchase gift cards valued at a little over $1,800 on her victim’s dime.

Target provided the Orinda couple victimized in this theft with a screen capture from their surveillance video and the woman who purchased the cards can be clearly seen. They were hoping someone might be able to identify her – for obvious reasons.

Police said the incident occurred between 1 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. and that the shopper was still in the store with her daughter when her husband called to advise their bank had called about their credit card being used at Target.

That’s when police say the victim looked in her purse to discover her wallet had been lifted.

Call LPD if you know the woman in the picture – and, ladies, watch those purses while out shopping. This has been happening a lot as we said.


  1. $1,800 is a lot of gift cards at one time. It would seem a reasonable policy to check a photo ID in such a scenario. I would be interested to know if Target has such a policy and whether it was followed. Perhaps this fraudulent transaction costs Target nothing, but I would think it in their long-term interest not to have this person in their store again.

  2. She used two different cards at two different cashiers. She tried a third time for another 1000 but the bank denied it

  3. Always amazed when shopping the people who walk away from their carts, leaving a purse in the kiddie seat! I’ve seen it at Concord Costco, Safeway, Trader Joe’s. Do they leave their front doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition, too?

  4. To everyone saying she should have been ID’d…Visa, MC, AMEX and Discover all discourage the use of photo IDs to be used for identification and doesn’t actually allow a merchant to require a photo ID. They use signatures as ID. Per their user agreement, they can deny a merchant’s privilege for accepting their cards if they receive complaints

  5. Requiring a photo ID is actually against the merchant’s user agreement with VISA, MC, AMEX and Discover. They discourage the use of photo IDs and do not allow merchants to require them. They consider signatures to be identification

  6. If it wasn’t for that video you guys ran of that ok – purse miner – going through that womans handbag while it was hanging off the back ofher chair I wouldn’t think this kind of thing was possible but apparently it is. That was an expensive lesson.

  7. The purse was on her shoulder. This wasn’t a random act of opportunity but that of one who does this often and professionally.

  8. If her purse was on her shoulder, that’s all the more reason for us ladies to hold onto our purses even tighter. If your purse is zippered, keep the zipper facing towards you to prevent someone from coming behind you.

  9. It’s target’s and the card issurers problem. It’s probably easy enough for target to cancel out those gift cards. Basically you’re stupid if you go buy gift cards with a stolen credit card you’ll be SOL because gift cards are electronic like credit cards and linked to system and with a few keystrokes can be cancelled.

    If you’re going to commit credit card fraud you buy stuff you can pawn on ebay/craigslist/internet that’s not traceable and easily sellable (commodities) I.e. baby formula, tobacco products, etc.

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