AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Police have arrested a woman they believe is responsible for a series of pickpocket thefts.
Surveillance from Aventura Mall shows the woman targeting several victims to be pickpocketed.
Police arrested 58-year-old Silvia Lorenzo, Saturday.
Investigators said Lorenzo, wearing a wig, got close to her victims, draped an article of clothing over their purse or bag and then made her move in seconds.
“These people have obviously worked really hard for whatever it is that they’re getting,” said shopper Kameron Evans. “For all we know, they’re using that money to shop for their family, especially around this time.”
A flyer was sent out with images from the surveillance video after complaints came in about wallets being snatched from purses inside stores. Lorenzo was arrested soon after.
Police believe Lorenzo struck shoppers at Aventura Mall at least twice in November alone.
“What she was doing, as you can see in the video, something she was really good at, is just getting real close to the victims, and with just one second, grabbing their wallets out of their purses and different areas without them even noticing, and we were able to arrest her for that,” said Aventura Police Sgt. Chris Goranitis.
Aventura Mall released a statement Monday which read in part, “We are aware of the incident and have been working closely with the Aventura Police Department.”
Both the Aventura Mall security team as well as undercover agents worked together to make the arrest.
Aventura Police arrested two more women, Monday evening, after more complaints came in about pickpockets in the mall. One suspect smiled at 7News cameras from the backseat of a police cruiser.
Police said they received information about their latest suspects having parked their car outside of Bloomingdales. Both the car and the suspects were found after a traffic stop.
“Especially holiday times, just like we like to go shopping, the criminal element likes to go shopping also,” said Goranitis.
“What can you do? I mean, people do it — not that it’s right,” said shopper Margon Wynn, who was at Aventura Mall on Monday.
While she didn’t experience any problems, she said she keeps her valuables close.
“So I have this in front, like this. Just keep it zipped up,” said Wynn, describing her fanny pack that she wore over her shoulder.
Shoppers said they will remain on high alert this holiday season to avoid pickpockets.
“I think that it’s something that you don’t even think to consider until that sort of thing does happen,” said Evans. “And once it does, it maybe kind of hightens your security a little bit, and you think, ‘OK, maybe I should be a bit more aware of that.'”
Holiday shopper Shirley Marjanovic said she rarely keeps an eye on her purse but said she’ll be more vigilant after hearing about the arrests. “Absolutely, I’ll tie it to my waist,” she said.
Lorenzo has since been charged with three thefts and is under investigation for several others. If you believe you may have been a victim, 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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