A small number of patrons at two popular Houston restaurants have had their purses stolen by people who then go on "instant shopping sprees," according to police.
"This happens very quickly. They get the credit cards and head to the stores," Houston Police Officer Anthony Simpson said.
Simpson said he has reviewed ten cases since January where the same sort of crime has happened at either the La Madeleine or the Cafe Express on the 6500 block of Woodway near Voss.
The crimes often, but not always, take place when the restaurants are busiest, such as during lunch hour.
The crime is fairly low-tech. The thieves target women who don't appear to be minding their purses.
"They're just slung over the back of the chair. You really can't tell what's going on in a busy restaurant," Simpson said.
Local 2 obtained video of a man and woman using one of the stolen credit cards at a Spec's liquor store within minutes of it being stolen.
Other shopping sprees have happened at Target, Walmart, the Apple Store and Microsoft Store, Simpson said.
"As for not becoming a victim, keep you purse where you can see it. These guys are professionals," he said.
The officer is asking the public to call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS with any information about the suspects seen on surveillance video.