Little more than a week after two women robbed an elderly woman shopping for groceries in St. Petersburg and used the stolen credit cards to purchase electronics and gift cards, authorities say a similar incident took place in Tampa.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives are searching for two women they say worked together to steal a victim’s wallet at the Publix at 13178 N Dale Mabry Highway late last month.
The women tried unsuccessfully to use the credit cards at a Best Buy at 126775 Citrus Plaza Drive and a Target at 6295 W Waters Ave.
The Sheriff’s Office is aware of the first incident but “not ready to say they’re related at this point,” said agency spokeswoman Merissa Lynn.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Sandra Bentil said her agency’s investigators believe it is “premature” to connect the cases “because we haven’t identified the suspects yet.”
In the Hillsborough incident, deputies said a woman approached a Publix shopper just after 2 p.m. on Nov. 23 and started asking questions. While the shopper was distracted, deputies said another woman reached into the victim’s shopping cart and took the wallet from inside her purse.
The Sheriff’s Office released surveillance video from the Publix incident and asks anyone who recognizes the suspects to call (813) 247-8200 or call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477.
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg police are searching for two women they say robbed a 75-year-old woman eight days earlier on Nov. 15 as she shopped for groceries.
Within half an hour, the women went to another store and purchased $5,000 in electronics and gift cards. The women tried to make a purchase at yet another store, officers said, but the victim’s cards were declined.
The agency also released surveillance photos of the women, as well as the dark gray SUV they drove in.
St. Petersburg police ask anyone with information about either of the women to call (727) 893-7780.