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Philadelphia Police Warn of Pickpockets In Coffee Shops During Holiday Season

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(File photo by Bay Ismoyo/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(File photo by Bay Ismoyo/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Kim Glovas Kim Glovas
Kim Glovas has been covering breaking and developing news as a...
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By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many people may not be paying as much attention to their purses or wallets as they should.

Philadelphia police report an uptick in pickpocket thefts this time of year, especially in coffee shops and cafés.  They urge shoppers  to be vigilant, especially if they are focused on their iPhone or laptop or engaged deeply in conversation.

This man echoed a common refrain:

“I hope I know where my wallet is, but I’m not really cognizant of it,” he said.   “There’s too much of other things going on.  People get distracted.”

Anna, however, was wearing her bag across her chest, and it was zipped shut.

“I don’t trust it, especially with the holidays, I always carry mine around, I never set it down.  I don’t even put it on the back of a chair,” she said.

Amanda was in a coffee shop, laptop in front of her, purse close by and in view.

“I’ve traveled a lot, so that’s one of the automatics of travelers to know that,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “I’ve been in many settings where that’s important, so it just kind of sticks.”

Another woman, Sue, says a friend of hers was a victim, so she is now very aware of her bag’s location at all times.

“I usually will keep it like this, in my lap, constantly checking it,” she said today.  “And I’ve gotten over the idea of feeling guilty if I see somebody nearby it, to move it.  Because when you do, you feel real guilty about that because you feel like you are saying something about the person sitting beside you — you don’t trust them.  But you kinda have to go with your instincts.”

Police urge shoppers and others to keep bags closed up and close by, and don’t feel guilty for moving away from anyone you feel is lurking too close by.

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