FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): Women and their purses are targets by gang members according to a Pennsylvania police department. Valley News Live has told you before about thieves stealing purses right from your chair but what about from youR car while you are near it? Law Enforcement nationwide is warning that these thefts are becoming a trend.
If you leave your purse or phone in your car while you run in to pick up your child from daycare or pickup that to-go order, you're inviting in crime according to police.
"People just leave their stuff in their vehicles unlocked and running and it gives someone that one to two minutes to get in and get out," said Fargo Police Officer Jessica Schindeldecker.
Fargo Police say it's called a crime of opportunity.
"We do have bad individuals that do come through our area that may not necessarily live here, but there is also some that do live here and looking for people to prey on," explained Schindeldecker.
"My husband yells at me all the time for doing it," said Beth Ann Johnson of Moorhead.
Beth Ann Johnson says she leaves her purse in her car but does try to hide it.
"I just think I'm just running in and it's one more thing to carry," Johnson stated.
Just across the river in Moorhead, we saw several cars with purses and backpacks left out and in plain sight in a gym parking lot.
"I'm sure some people think about it since there is a little more crime nowadays," said David Albrecht of West Fargo. "So I am sure a little more people are skeptical on leaving things inside but around here we are a tight knit community so people don't worry as much as I think."
In other parts of the country police have said thieves were members of the Felony Lane Gang typically based in Florida but have members working different parts of the country. Theft cases have happened at gyms, churches and day cares. They get into cars by breaking windows or simply opening unlocked doors.
"I did speak to our local FBI office and they are not aware of it in our area but it doesn't mean it can't happen," said Schindeldecker.
Schindeldecker reminds people it's easier to to put those valuables out of sight than call and cancel all your financial cards and start identity protection. Fargo Police remind people this time of year property thefts tend to spike as more people are outside and leave items out. They remind people to double check that you bring items like bikes inside and close your garage doors.