IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Police Department is currently investigating multiple reports of the theft of wallets from unsuspecting shoppers. In each instance, the victim is approached by a first suspect who distracts them with some sort of question, request for assistance or conversation. A second suspect then removes a wallet from a purse left unattended in the victim’s shopping cart.

In many past reports, the victim doesn’t realize their wallet has been stolen until they attempt to check out and are unable to find their wallet. In these cases, store security footage shows the scheme unfolding.

In one case reported on Oct. 16, the victim was shopping in the children’s clothing area at Fred Meyer on Northgate Mile. A man approached the victim and asked for assistance, which she was attempting to provide when she noticed the second man approach and reach for her purse. The victim raised the alarm by yelling, but the man was able to grab the victim’s wallet from the purse and both suspects fled from the store. The victim ran after them, however, the suspects were able to get in a vehicle and flee the scene prior to police arrival.

This same scheme has periodically been utilized in Idaho Falls and in other areas for some time now. Community members are urged to never leave wallets, purses, financial transaction cards, driver's licenses, etc. sitting in shopping carts or otherwise unattended for any length of time. While it may seem convenient to place a purse or wallet in a shopping cart so it doesn’t have to be carried, it is far more inconvenient to deal with the theft of these items.

Anyone who believes their wallet, financial transaction cards, driver's license, social security card, etc. has been stolen is encouraged to file a police report as soon as they are aware it has occurred. It is also appropriate to take immediate steps to secure financial accounts, cancel/freeze cards and notify appropriate agencies (for example the social security office for theft of social security cards).

The Idaho Falls Police Department is sharing photos taken from security footage from the incident on Oct. 16, and another similar recent incident, of four suspects in these schemes. While two of the suspects appear to be nearly identical from the photos, it is believed at this time that they are different individuals. It is possible that these individuals do not live in Idaho Falls but routinely return to the area.

Anyone with information about their identities is encouraged to contact the Idaho Falls Police Department at 208-529-1200.