Police: crew possibly behind 5 Bal Harbour purse snatchings

BAL HARBOUR, FLA. (WSVN) - A string of recent purse snatchings at Bal Harbour restaurants could be the result of a group of thieves working together, police said.

Police released surveillance video of one of the thefts, in which a man took a woman’s purse off the back of her chair at an upscale restaurant, in the Bal Harbour Shops. The theft is one of five such cases in the last five months, police said.

“How brazen he is,” Bal Harbour Police Chief Miguel De La Rosa said. “It’s in the middle of the day, the area is surrounded, the shops are full of people having lunch, people milling around, shopping, and he’s not concerned with everyone else around them.”

The video shows a man in a blue shirt hovering behind a woman eating lunch. He appears to be fiddling with his phone, and the woman doesn’t notice him as he takes her purse and walks away.

“It’s the middle of the day. There’s many people around, and he’s well dressed, he’s nonchalant,” De La Rosa said. “When you hang it on the back of your chair, make sure you can always feel the purse, or if nothing else, you can see it with your peripheral vision.”

Police also released a photo of another thief who stole a purse at a Bal Harbour restaurant.

Someone also stole 78-year-old Marielle’s purse while she dined at the Bal Harbour Shops last month.

“I turned, the purse was gone,” she said. “Oh, my God, terrible. I was crying. I had a shock, all of a sudden my head hurt.”

The thief took all her cash, $400, and ditched her Michael Kors bag in the Bal Harbour Shops garage.

“That’s bad. You don’t do that to people because, first of all, it’s very bad to do that to woman,” Marielle said.

De La Rosa urged anyone who recognizes the thieves to come forward to police.

“It goes against people’s security and tranquility,” he said, “and we won’t put up with that here.”

If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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