Wallet thief hits small businesses in Omaha metro
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A brazen thief has taken advantage of the holiday rush for Omaha area small businesses. Busy retail workers might not notice that they are theft victims until it’s too late.
A phony shopper not looking for help but an opportunity.
“She waited until we came to the back, and then she came up and saw and took the opportunity when we were busy,” said Robin Heller.
The Owner of Dundee Flea Robin Heller didn’t notice the woman slip behind the counter, open a cabinet door, and reach into her purse.
“All she grabbed was the wallet and cash out of the purse,” said Heller.
$1,000 in a bank deposit envelope and wallet stuffed inside her jacket, the thief only paused for entering customers before walking out.
“I always took for granted that we’d be safe here that something tucked away in the private space would be kept private and it’s not,” said Heller.
Two hours before and three miles away the same woman enters Overland in the Old Market.
“She came in and she waved at me like hi and I wave at her like hello,” said Gail Djureen, Assistance Store Manager.
Different clothes but same thief because the shoes are clues and she went quickly to large stores using credit cards stolen from both victims to buy thousands of dollars in merchandise.
“This close to Christmas having to cancel the credit cards, just my personal information, it’s been a nightmare,” said Djureen.
“I won’t leave the floor, if someone needs to see something I’ll have to schedule an appointment,” said Heller.
Added caution because the pandemic gives thieves an advantage of wearing masks without raising suspicion.
Though the suspect could have walked here Robin says she’ll install cameras outside that way she’ll have more than just an idea of what vehicles someone was driving but video to turn over to police.
Small business owners and employees need the sound of customers coming through the door not a thief taking advantage of their trust.
“Take extra precautions and let staff know that there is somebody after their personal belongings,” said Heller.
The owner of Dundee Flea has been passing around a photo of the thief to neighboring businesses. A warning has also been circulating on neighborhood apps and it appears so far three small stores have been hit.
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