Wallet thief targets senior citizens while they shop

Modesto police want your help tracking down a thief who is preying on senior citizens while they shop.

Police released photos of a woman suspected of stealing wallets from customers in stores in Turlock, Ceres and Modesto. Now, a Sacramento woman says the same suspect stole her wallet at an Elk Grove store.

"I thought, 'oh my God, how could I have been so stupid?'"

That's what Wauneta Hatfield thought when she realized her wallet was gone after got home from the Michael's store on Laguna Boulevard in Elk Grove. She had kept it in her purse while she shopped. Then Hatfield remembered an encounter with a stranger inside the store.

"I remembered the gal that was talking to me and separating, kept on separating me from my basket," Hatfield recalled. "She would get in between me and my basket. See my purse was in the basket, and then me. While she struck up the conversation to help me look for some jewelry parts."

Police said the woman in the photos, which were posted on their Facebook page, is responsible for a series of thefts, specifically stealing wallets from elderly victims then making large purchases with their credit cards. When Hatfield saw the photos, she recognized the face and the M.O.

"She noticed what I was doing, and I said, 'well, this is what I'm looking for.' 'Oh, I'll help you.' I never thought nothing of it," Hatfield said.

Hatfield cancelled her credit cards and ATM card, and she is now working on replacing her driver's license. But, she lost several hundred dollars in cash and hundreds more in gift cards.


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