PIERCE COUNTY -- University Place Police are asking for the public's help to identify a suspect caught on surveillance camera at a Safeway in Tumwater using a victim's stolen credit cards.
They were taken along with the victim's purse and Michael Kors wallet during a car prowl in the lower parking lot of Chamber's Bay Golf Course at 11 a.m. on July 18.
"I view him as very cowardly to smash a window and take a woman's purse," said Rebecca, who asked us not to use her last name for her safety.
It's the first time she has ever been a victim of a crime. She is sharing her story so other women don't have to endure the frustration she feels.
Rebecca says the suspect broke out a passenger-side back window of her SUV while she was walking the trails with a girlfriend. Her purse was on the floor behind the seat. She thinks the crook saw the purse when she opened her door to put her jacket on the back seat. As soon as she saw the shattered glass, she started canceling her credit cards, but the thief had already used them in Lakewood, Tumwater and Olympia.
The theft was a hard lesson learned. Rebecca has spent long, stressful hours replacing all of her IDs, credit cards, checks and securing her credit; plus, replacing the window cost $500.
"I will be wearing a fanny pack that will have only what I need and I will no longer carry a purse," said Rebecca.
Rebecca is the latest victim in an ongoing battle against car prowlers. There are signs in the parking lot warning visitors to Chambers Bay to never leave valuables in their cars.
"Especially somewhere where you are out for a walk and you're leaving your purse and your wallet and your valuables behind, people are going to know that and they are going to bust into your car and see you walk away and get out of sight and it just takes them a few seconds to break a window, clean your car out and be on the move," said Pierce County Sheriff's Det. Ed Troyer.
Police have made multiple arrests for car prowling in University Place but it is an ongoing battle.
"We want them to know that if they are going to go out and break into cars that we're going to be looking for them," said Det. Troyer.
Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who can identify or help police locate the suspect. If you know his name, what he drives, where to find him or have any photos of him, please submit an anonymous tip at www.P3Tips.com or use the P3 Tips App on your cell phone. You can also call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).