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Police issue warning to holiday shoppers after spike in parking lot thefts

FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Police have taken many reports of parking lot thefts over the past few days. They say it's only going to get worse as the holiday season approaches. 

Ketsy Jusino doesn't like shopping with her purse. "I try not to carry it, if I do it's the one that's crossing my lap, always close to me."

Earlier this week, surveillance video from a Walmart in Franklin shows a woman putting groceries in the trunk of her car. A white vehicle pulls up, a man jumps out and grabs her purse before taking off. The woman doesn't even notice.

"Stuff like that, we don't like to hear," said Operations Manager Michael Haubrich.

Sam's Club managers say they're slammed with shoppers. The store offers to help people bring bags to their cars in an effort to keep everyone safe.

"A lot of thefts was just having members with their purses in their carts turn around for a second, don't look where their purse is, and it's gone," said Haubrich.

Police advise shoppers to not leave bags, wallets, or anything visible in vehicles.

"It really comes down to keeping your stuff on your person until you can get back into your vehicle and lock your doors," said Sgt. Matt Borchardt with Greenfield Police.

A 38-year-old woman had her purse taken after she left it unattended at a Brown Deer Walmart on Thursday.

Brown Deer Police Sgt. Amy Koeppel says while they have less than a dozen purse thefts at retail thefts a year, it does increase slightly from October to December. 

Koeppel says most of the victims were females and someone who accidentally left their purse somewhere or left it unattended.

Koeppel advises shoppers to pay attention to their surroundings. She says shoppers should only take what they need to the store. She also suggests keeping your house keys in your pocket, instead of a purse. If not, someone could find out where you live through your ID and have your keys to go inside.

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