PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — New details and clues emerged Friday about a series of recent robberies that occurred at a mall in Palm Beach Gardens.
It all happens while people are shopping. In many cases, there are two or three people involved. One or two of them will distract you so that you look away, while the other rummages through your things.
Palm Beach Gardens police released photos Friday of the people suspected of stealing multiple purses, wallets and phones.
They then use the cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of electronics and gift cards, most of them to Lake Park.
Almost all of the incidents happened at TJ Maxx, Trader Joe’s or Marshalls in Palm Beach Gardens Plaza, surprising shoppers.
“It’s really shocking. I didn’t know anyone was here doing this,” said a buyer named Terry.
Terry has experienced firsthand what these criminals are capable of.
“It takes your breath away. It’s just that moment of panic,” Terry said.
Her story is similar to others detailed in the nearly two dozen police reports.
“I had the cart right there with me, and to my left was a man and a woman. And he was trying to get my attention. So I turned around, and obviously when I turned around, I turned around. turned away from the cart. And he was holding what looked like a tag, but it wasn’t really the tags you see in Marshalls. And was speaking in Spanish and asking me questions and I told him I didn’t understand. What did he need? Do you need his award? And then he basically said gracias and left,” Terry said.
When Terry arrived at the counter, she realized that her phone and wallet were missing.
“You think I know I should be careful. I know I shouldn’t do this or that. But we live in Palm Beach Gardens,” Terry said.
No arrests have been made, but Palm Beach Gardens police say they are considering a potential match with a suspect recently arrested in Port St Lucie.
If you know who the scammers are, call the police department at 561-799-4445.