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Purses, wallets being stolen from unexpected places in Dublin, Westerville

In the last six weeks, there have been multiple reports of purses and wallets being stolen in victims' office and in retail stores.

DUBLIN, Ohio — Purse and wallet thefts aren’t uncommon, but what if it’s happening right under your own nose? That's what is happening in Dublin and Westerville where, in the last six weeks, there have been multiple reports of purses and wallets stolen in victims’ offices and in retail stores, like Trader Joe's.

“I went to gather my things to go home and my purse was gone,” Angela Guzman said.

Guzman is the office manager at Avina Women’s Care in Dublin. She said she’s always felt safe at her office, so when she filled in at the front desk one day, she left her purse unattended in her private room. When she returned, it was gone.

“You know immediately you think you must have misplaced it because you don’t assume it was stolen. You’re at your job, you’re at your office, you assume things are safe,” Guzman said.

Guzman's bag was stolen along with her social security cards and banking documents. These are all items Guzman said she just forgot to take out.

"It’s just upsetting in general. If they would have used my debit card that day, that was my rent money. So what would I have done in that moment,” Guzman said.

She immediately froze her cards just in time. Someone tried to charge $750 on her personal card at Walmart but got denied. But they then headed to Target with her corporate card and scored big.

“I think it’s about 1,700 total that they used at Target though between the electronics and the gift cards,” Guzman said.

But she’s not the only one. Angela filed a police report and the same suspects also stole wallets from Novacare Rehabilitation Offices in Dublin, seen spending large amounts at retail stores.

“You may think employee-only areas are secure space but from what we are seeing that's just not true,” says Det. Steve Borton with Dublin police. “Ideally, if you can, keep your valuables on your person because that's the safest place where it's not out of your site.”

Just a couple of miles away, two different reports were filed of purse and wallet thefts at Trader Joe's in Dublin.

In Westerville, police reported six purse and wallet thefts in the last six weeks.

“A lot of times, these types of trends tend to bounce suburbs,” says Lt. Doug Stevens. “So whereas it might be prevalent somewhere else this week, or this month, you know, we could perhaps see something in May, or even June or whenever for that matter.”

Lt. Stevens advises to always in on guard, no matter where you are.

“A lot of people tend to put things on their desk because they're comfortable there. And I'm sure we're all guilty of that, at some point, you're comfortable in your house, your office, your vehicle,” Stevens said. “But they're all opportunities for would-be criminals to look to capitalize on somebody letting their guard down a little bit.”

As for Guzman, she is still seeking justice.

"The fact that someone had the audacity to take my belongings and do that, I will do whatever it is in my power to make sure they get caught,” shares Guzman.

Anyone with information on any of these incidents is asked to call Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-645-4749 or the police.

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