Kensington Police have charged a 53-year-old woman and are looking for a co-defendant after women were targeted in shopping mall handbag thefts between May and August.
This follows a series of handbag thefts at the Park Center in East Victoria Park on Saturday.
The 53-year-old has been charged with multiple offenses of theft and fraud at several shopping centers in Perth.
Three women were targeted throughout Saturday afternoon, their bags reportedly snatched away with their backs turned.
An octogenarian had her handbag confiscated as she was unloading her groceries around 2 p.m.
She was parked in a handicap bay at the north end of the mall on Albany Highway and put her bag in the trunk.
According to the police, two women approached the vehicle and took the handbag.
Almost three hours later, a woman in her 30s realized her handbag was missing after putting her groceries in the car at the same center. She first went home, but came back to check if she had been left in a cart.
The handbag was seized and the woman’s debit card was allegedly used twice at a nearby bottle shop.
In another incident earlier today, a 45-year-old woman left her handbag in a trolley while browsing nearby.
When she turned around, police said they saw a woman holding her purse.
After being spotted, the woman allegedly dropped the handbag and fled in a silver Holden Commodore sedan.
Kensington Police also this week recovered – following their investigations – $16,000 worth of jewelery stolen from a 75-year-old woman’s handbag which was placed in her trolley while shopping at the Belmont Forum.
Police said the owner of the jewelry had been contacted and was very happy to hear that her stolen items had been found.
A 73-year-old woman also had her purse removed from inside her car at Belmont Forum as she returned her trolley to the trolley bay.
An 88-year-old woman had her purse removed from inside her car in Innaloo as she gave directions to someone and placed groceries in her vehicle.
A purse was also stolen from the trunk of an 80-year-old woman’s car as she placed her bag and groceries in the back of her vehicle while returning her cart.
Kensington’s top cop, Senior Sergeant Kareene Santoro, has called on people not to leave their handbags in trolleys.
“People should secure their handbags and not leave them in their trolleys because that’s where we’ve targeted people – those who leave handbags in trolleys,” she told PerthNow.
Further investigations are being carried out by the police to locate a second suspect.