Purse Thefts On The Rise: Local Woman Creates Fashion Accessory To Deter Crooks

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - There are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of others. Crooks are hitting people in big numbers around the Omaha area.

Police say theft is on the rise, specifically purse theft.

One crime prevention specialist said we need to be more vigilant and not only be more aware of our surroundings, but our belongings as well.

Recently an Omaha woman came to the Chuck E. Cheese's off 72nd street. She brought her handbag with her and when she had her back turned for just a few seconds, a crook grabbed her purse off the back of the chair and walked straight out the door.

A local woman knows all too well about the problems associated with purse theft. She created a purse that's hard to steal to prevent theft from occurring to the women she knows.

Angela Lee said she grew tired of carrying a handbag and constantly worrying about her stuff getting stolen, so she created a way to carry her items next to her heart. "It looks like a traditional scarf but inside I'm actually carrying my cell phone. I've got my wallet which inside has cash and my credit card. I've got a travel size lipstick, so really just the core essentials if you're going to go out for an evening or if you're sightseeing or going to a concert," Lee said while showing Fox 42 News her product.

It's called the SHOLDIT, a hands free product that allows you to carry your valuables without tipping off thieves. "With pick pocketing on the rise and with the times just being a little bit harsher they're more incentive if they see a cell phone sitting there to swipe a purse that's easy this just allows you to be just very unconventional and nobody would really notice that you've got your valuables."

Joel Strominger is a crime prevention specialist with Omaha police. He said purse thefts are on the rise. "I mean we really need to be vigilant. There are a lot of eyes and ears out there who want to take advantage of those who are more fortunate."

Investigators said recently a woman stole an unattended purse and used the credit cards inside to go on a shopping spree. Strominger said crooks tend to target purses left on the ground or hanging over the back of a chair. "Number one, you can't see it. Number two, it's very easily accessible by others either to take the whole purse of to just walk by and remove some of the contents if you don't have it secured."

What really frustrates him, is ladies who leave their purses in the shopping cart at the grocery store. "If you're going to leave your purse in a shopping cart which I don't recommendmake sure you physically strap the purse to the cart so nobody can just walk by and take the purse. They also have to take the cart with them which makes it a little more difficult for them

He said the best way to protect your purse is to wear it across your body not just over one shoulder and make sure you zip it closed.

Officer Strominger said if you're going to go out somewhere where you can't keep a close eye on your purse, to keep your belongings on your body, in your pockets, or use an item like the SHOLDIT, where you can keep your valuables close to your heart.

You can buy the SHOLDIT locally at The Afternoon located in the Westroads mall and at 31st and Farnam, SKYZ Boutique off 169th and Wright Plaza, Bravadas at 79th and Dodge, online at or via catalogs like SkyMall and Magellan's.

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