FLORISSANT, Mo. – A small business owner is warning the public after a thief stole her purse and went on a shopping spree across the metro. Police are asking for the public's help identifying the suspect.
Surveillance video from inside EdgyChic Boutique on St. Ferdinand Street in Florissant shows the suspect walked into the shop minutes after it opened Tuesday morning (Nov. 12). Shop owner Angela Harris can be seen chatting with the faux customer, and, at one point, Harris even extends her arm to let the woman smell a candle.
Moments later, and unbeknownst to Harris, the camera caught the woman as she reached into a large bag Harris left on a chair by the door. The woman pulled Harris' designer purse out of the larger bag and wrapped the strap around the bag. She then spun a display as a distraction before dropping Harris' purse into her own.
"In my opinion, she's a professional," Harris said. "She was very slick. If you see the video, she got me."
A neighboring business spotted the woman moments later as she walked to her dark-colored SUV.
About an hour later, Harris received an alert from one of her credit cards. She immediately canceled that card assuming it had been compromised.
Then, a short time later, she received an alert on a separate card. That is when she realized her purse was gone.
Within a matter of hours, approximately $8,000 in fraudulent charges were made on Harris' cards.
"This young lady has violated me," Harris said. "She has probably close to $8,000 worth of merchandise that she has stolen. She even had the nerve to go to Cinnabon and spend $4.90."
Harris canceled her cards but she is frustrated because police tell her she will need to file separate fraud claims with police departments in each jurisdiction where the fraud occurred.
Florissant police tell Fox 2/News 11 they are working on the theft report. A positive identification of the suspect could help them in moving forward with the fraud claims.
"Please turn her in because if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone, and no one deserves to have someone come into their business to steal from them," Harris said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Florissant Police Department at 314-831-7000.