Local merchants are on guard for an individual causing a distraction under the guise of looking at merchandise and then stealing women’s purses due to a Monday afternoon, July 18 incident at a downtown antique store.
Tina Biagi said she was the working the front counter of an F Street store on July 18 when an unknown white male came into the establishment and started looking around. The man asked Biagi to remove a painting from a far wall, but when she returned, he was gone … and so, she discovered later, was her purse.
“I didn’t even realize my purse was gone until about an hour later,” Biagi said. “When I did, I knew who did it.”
Biagi said she got ahold of the shop owner and they reviewed video in the store and noticed that the suspect was in the store a previous time, about an hour earlier, scoping out what was inside. He later returned, this time wearing a hat, and that is when he asked her to get a painting from a wall in the store.
“The video shows him getting my purse, wrapping it in a store cloth, and jamming out of here,” Biagi said.
The purse not only contained Biagi’s wallet with cash and credit cards, but also her keys. She feared that the thief now knew where she lived and had access to her home. The cost of key replacement – her car key required a special chip – and locks totaled over $500.
Biagi not only contacted the Oakdale Police Department to report the incident, but also posted the video on social media in an attempt for someone to identify the individual.
“I’ve gotten some leads from customers,” Biagi said.
Oakdale Police said investigators are working the case, developing leads as well, making contacts as they come in.
Anyone with any information about this case or the identity of the suspect should contact the Oakdale Police Department at (209) 847-2231.