UPD searching for serial wallet thief

By Vivienne Henning

The Urbana Police Department is looking for a woman suspected to be a serial wallet thief in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The suspect is described as a black female, between 45-years-old and 55-years-old; she is suspected in two incidents of theft that occurred in the area in January.SO

On Jan. 12 around 3:20 PM the suspect took a wallet out of a purse from an unoccupied office at Carle Hospital. Around 4:30 p.m. the suspect purchased nearly $1,000, worth of merchandise including a Sony Playstation 4 game console at the Champaign Target, 2102 N Prospect Ave. She then went on to make more purchases at a nearby Wal-Mart, Meijer grocery store and a gas station.SO

On Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. the suspect took a wallet from an unattended purse from a Presence Hospital break room. Around 5:30 p.m. the suspect used the stolen credit and debit cards to purchase over $500 worth of merchandise, including Sony Playstation video games and a Kobalt 80V Cordless Trimmer.SO

In both incidents, the suspect was seen entering and exiting a tan or gold Chevrolet SUV, with an unidentified female and male in the vehicle.SO

Duane Smith, Urbana Police Department investigator, said the police department obtained video footage from Carle Hospital and Target.

“Now we’re just in the process of trying to disseminate and get the images out to as many people as possible and hoping the public will recognize and identify her,” Smith said.

Given the success of the first two incidents, Smith said it’s possible the suspect may “keep trying her luck.”

“We believe in law enforcement, the more you keep trying your luck you’re going to get caught and make a mistake,” Smith said. “The more attempts she makes it will increase the likelihood she’ll get caught.”

Smith said people should not take the security of their valuables lightly.

“If you think you have to leave a purse unattended, bring (your) wallet with you or hide it. Don’t let it be visible to anyone who may be passing by,” he said. “If it’s valuable to you, you have to take the time to secure it.”

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