Tustin Pickpocket Thieves Caught on Camera

Suspected pickpocket thieves using a tactic of distracting the victim as the other one steals wallets were caught on camera in the Tustin area, police said.

Tustin police were trying to track down two men captured on surveillance video at several popular Orange County shopping spots after they were accused of swiping shopper's wallets at TJ Maxx, Costco, Make It Fit and Panera Bread.

All of the stores were near to The Market Place located at 2961 El Camino Real and the District located at 2437 Park Avenue.

One victim who was ripped off at Panera Bread on Jamboree Road said she was stunned.

The suspected thieves reached into her purse, swiped her wallet, and charged $3,000 within the span of 10 minutes. 

She was still sitting at the restaurant, and received a fraud alert on her phone. 

"I panicked," Sarah Wilson said. "I was just thinking about all the cards I had in my wallet, that they now knew my name, my address. It was just really unnerving."

The surveillance footage shows the accused men perusing the aisles like any other shopper. 

Another victim can be seen interacting with the men on surveillance footage. Police said one man distracted her as she got into her car, and the other man snatched her wallet.

"I want to tell them, 'You're going to get caught. Karma will get you,'" Wilson said in a message to the accused thieves.

Police said they preyed on customers who were distracted.

"I'm a little mad at myself for that but I think it's a message to all women to be aware of your surroundings," Wilson said.

There were six victims total since Saturday, police said.

The Tustin Police Department posted tips to its Facebook page, hoping to warn shoppers:

"Some tips for shoppers — if possible, keep your purse on your shoulder while shopping. If you put your purse in the child seat, make sure it is zipped and secured with the seat belt. Suspects are looking for easy access. Keep your cart (and purse) in front of you as you peruse the shelves. Pay attention to people loitering around you and your cart — make eye contact and smile so you do not appear distracted. Avoid leaving your purse unattended in shopping carts and dressing rooms. If you are a victim, contact your credit card companies as soon as possible to determine if/where your credit cards were used. Notify TPD to take a crime report."

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