Security video catches man stealing woman's wallet at Knoxville grocery store

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It happened in only a few seconds. A man stole a wallet from a woman's purse while she was shopping at a grocery store in north Knoxville.

"I was basically digging through some hot dogs, trying to see the difference between chicken hot dogs and chicken, pork and beef hot dogs," Shavaris Streets said.

The store's security cameras caught the entire crime.

"I still had my hand on my buggy, but I guess he could see my purse was halfway zipped," Streets said.

You can see the thief clearly in the video. He walks up to the cart, takes Streets' wallet and walks off.

"I didn't even get up. The ladies standing beside me didn't notice, didn't say anything," she said.

Streets didn't realize she'd been ripped off until she went to pay. The thief took $125 out of the wallet and then threw it in the parking lot. Another customer later turned it into the store.

"It makes me feel uncomfortable," she said. "I work hard for everything that I own, and I don't really ask anybody for anything."

Knoxville police are investigating the theft.

Capt. Bob Wooldridge says this is a good reminder that you should always keep valuables in your hand or in your front pocket.

"The thieves, some of them are good at what they do, so they're focusing on that purse because they know you're not," he said.

Talking or playing on a cellphone while shopping can also be a distraction, Wooldridge says.

Streets says the thief only took cash out of her wallet. But you can see on the security video, he took a long time to go through the wallet before tossing it -- enough time to write down her information.

If you recognize the suspect in the video, call police.

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