By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Authorities say there’s been an increase in thefts from distracted shoppers throughout Orange County.

(credit: Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, investigators have seen an uptick in wallets and other personal items being taken from purses while people are shopping. In most of the cases, the victim was followed through the store until the thief sees an opportunity to dip into the shopper’s purse.

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Sheriff’s officials say such thefts tend to happen most often at grocery stores, home improvement stores, drug stores and membership warehouses.

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Authorities urged people to keep an eye on their personal bags while shopping and consider zipping their purses closed or use the strap or a clip to secure it to the shopping cart if using one.

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Property crimes are also on the rise in the county, sheriff’s officials said, so people should remember to not leave valuables in cars or anything in easy view that could be an enticement to a thief.