FILLMORE (CBSLA.com) — Authorities asked for the public’s help Monday to track down a couple believed to be stealing purses from women throughout Ventura County.
At least one incident happened July 3, 2015, when a woman and her family had dinner at El Pescador Restaurant in Fillmore. While she ate with her family, her purse had been stolen while it was hanging on the back of her chair, Fillmore police Detective Javier Chavez said.
The theft was captured on surveillance video, Chavez said. A woman entered the restaurant with a cell phone to her ear and appeared to be looking for her party. A man entering later walked by the victim, then grabbed the purse and covered it with his black jacket. He immediately walked out of the restaurant, and the woman followed a few seconds later, Chavez said.
The couple was seen getting into a silver or gray, early 2000’s Acura MDX, driven by a third person, last seen driving west on Highway 126.
The same man was seen on surveillance video in another theft at a Smart & Final in Camarillo, Chavez said. In that incident, a woman put her purse in her shopping cart and became distracted. When she returned to her cart, her purse was gone.
Surveillance video showed the man using his jacket to cover the purse as he took it from the cart and walked out of the store. However, in the Smart & Final incident, he was seen working with another man who also entered the store and appeared to be the primary subject’s “look out,” Chavez said. Both suspects were then seen getting into the same vehicle described in the Fillmore incident.
The suspect seen in both thefts is described as a Hispanic man in his late 40s with balding black hair, between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8, 180 to 200 pounds. The woman in the Fillmore theft was also described as Hispanic, in her 40s, with shoulder-length brown hair, between 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-5 and between 130 and 150 pounds.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by Ventura County Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the purse thief. Anyone with information about these crimes can call Detective Javier Chavez at (805) 524-2233.