FOX 2 Exclusive: Thieves caught on camera targeting west St. Louis County shoppers

MANCHESTER, MO – A man and woman wanted for stealing wallets from Walmart customers have been identified.

Manchester Police say images posted of the couple last week generated several tips from the public.

“People started recognizing them. And called CrimeStoppers and identified them for us,” Manchester Police Sgt. Ed Skaggs said.

Newly released video puts in perspective how simple it was for the suspects to carry out the crime.

In the video, the man, wearing a white shirt, and the woman, wearing a red hat, appear to have their eyes set on a female shopper.

“As soon as she turned her back on her purse, the male suspect would reach in, lift the wallet out, and just simply walk away. And then his female accomplice would catch up with them and out the store they went,” Skaggs said.

The couple allegedly visited a nearby Best Buy store, where they used the stolen credit cards.

Police say they are grateful for the public’s help, and the quality of the images provided by Walmart.

“Without video surveillance and without the use of social media, we probably would not have gotten them,” Skaggs said.

The alleged suspects are from St. Louis and have a history of theft, Skaggs said. The case will now be forwarded to the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Although justice may soon be served on the duo, police hope this case sends a message to the public – shoppers who use purses, in particular.

“The main thing we’re concerned about is the ease which they were able to commit these crimes,” Skaggs. “Our concern is getting shoppers’ awareness level raised – that they pay attention to their purses, and don’t leave them unattended.”