Two local credit card theft cases may be linked

Two local credit card theft cases may be linked

MOUNT ANGEL, Ore. – Thieves working together to steal wallets right out of women's purses while they shop, then spending thousands of dollars before the victims even realize their wallets are gone.

Police have now connected at least two local cases. Police say there are similarities in thefts from Keizer and Beaverton and there are probably more cases. Now they want the public's help to find several people.    

Cameras captured the suspects charging thousands of dollars on stolen credit cards.

Diane Sparks says thieves spent over $24,000 of her money.

Thieves took her wallet at a TJ Maxx in Beaverton and quickly went to Washington Square Mall. They charged more than $16,000 on her credit and debit cards and tried to charge another $7,000 but were declined.

They spent the money at the Apple Store, Nordstrom, Victoria's Secret and Best Buy all within three hours.

"I couldn't believe it," Sparks said. "I can't imagine spending money that quickly, I don't even know how they did it."

A significant number of identity thefts begin with a wallet stolen. And just like in Sparks' case, many victims leave their purses open in their shopping carts and wallets exposed. And it only takes a second for thieves to grab them and get away.

Sparks said she believes someone stole from her while a woman in the store asked her a lot of questions about a sweater.

"I thought, does she think I work here? But I was just trying to be helpful," Sparks said.

Now Beaverton police are looking for the suspects (shown above). Cameras captured them using Sparks' credit cards on July 22. And the day before cameras at the Target in Keizer captured six photos showing thieves with a similar method and some of them with similar descriptions.

Sparks at least got all her money back. The credit card companies and bank reimbursed her. But she's still worried the thieves got her name, address, even her health card.

Police want to hear from anyone who might know the suspects.