Thieves stealing from purses and cars in Shockoe Slip

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Keep a close eye on your wallet or purse if you're hanging out in Shockoe Slip.  It looks like thieves are hanging out there, as well.  They're pick-pocketing and breaking into cars.

On any given weekend night, Shockoe Slip is crawling with people ready to have a good time. On Saturday night, Brittany Akers was one of those people.  Unlike many women, she said she didn't stray far from her purse.  She didn't set it down to get a drink from the bar.  She didn't leave it to go to the dance floor or the bathroom.

"Never left my purse for a minute, maybe turned my back for a couple seconds but it was still within a foot of me," she told NBC12.

A couple seconds and a foot was all it would take for Akers to have a bull's-eye on her belongings.

"I had tons of fun," she said.  "I had a great time until I figured out the next morning that somebody had jacked my wallet, my money, my life out of my purse."

Restaurant owners said Akers is not alone.  They've heard of many similar incidents at several Slip establishments.

"Every single person I tell they've at least heard of one or two more people who the same things has happened to them within the last month," Akers maintained.

Richmond Police told us they're examining any emerging trends.

"It's just a crime of opportunity," said Lt. Cynthia Riley.

The examination is something they do three times a week.  A week ago, that tracking paid off in the Slip.  Lt. Riley explained after RPD noticed several thefts from cars, officers planted bait and were able to arrest the thieves.  Since then she said it's been quiet on that front.

"I say to anybody who's down there trying to commit crime, you never know where we are, what we look like, how we're dressed, but we are down there looking for you and we're actively looking for you," Riley warned.

One owner said he's looking into a possible setup to catch the crooks.

In the meantime, Riley advised if you don't need it, don't bring it with you into the restaurant.  And if you leave your stuff in your car, lock it in the trunk.

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