Protecting Your Belongings While Shopping Tax Free

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Knoxville (WVLT) - You're out looking to get a steal on some back to school supplies, but thieves could be out to steal from you. This weekend's sales tax holiday's kicked off Friday.

In the back-to-school buying blitz of clothes, supplies, computers, and everything else, it's easy for you to become a target for a crime.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has what you need to know before you hit the stores.

KPD says to keep an open eye out and beware of all your surroundings because this weekend while you shop, thieves could shop for you.

It's a back-to-school buying bonanza.

"We're out shopping for school, getting in on the tax free," shopper Wanda Frye said.

But Knoxville Police warn thieves could get in on you. That's why the most valuable bag Wanda Frye's holding is her purse.

"I keep it to my side, where I can it at all times," Frye said.

Because she knows this sales tax holiday weekend, she could be a victim.

"They're crimes of opportunity," Knoxville Police officer Sharon Terrell said.

Meaning if you give thieves a chance, your trip the mall could become a trip to a crime scene. KPD says the crime of choice: purse snatching.

"If their purse has a strap, I would suggest that they put the strap through their arm, pull it close," Terrell said.

Very close.

"I'd say tuck it like were carrying a football or a package or a baby," Terrell said.

And, if you don't have kid with you, use the buggy's strap to strap in your purse. Besides your purse, watch your credit cards at the counter.

"Make sure you take the time to retrieve your credit card from the teller. They're just as busy as you're going to be," Terrell said.

And if you pick up an expensive back-to-school goodie:

"Take it back to your home and then go and do your smaller shopping," Terrell said.

Also use common sense in the parking lot. Don't leave anything visible in your car thieves might want.

If you do bring bags out to your trunk, police say don't head back into the same store just yet. Instead, get in your car and move it."

"That way if someone's watching you put items in the trunk of your car, then they'll think you''re leaving if you go to the other side of the mall and park," Terrell said.

The back-to-school blitz has fried Frye.

"We went into a store where most of the merchandise was laying on the floor and people were just digging through. It was pretty crazy," Frye said.

In the craziness, she still has her purse.

Police also encourage guys to carry their wallets in a front pocket, not in the back and don't leave any children or pets in a car alone for even a second.

The sales tax holiday runs till 11:59 Sunday night.

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