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updated: 3/5/2013 4:19 PM

Arlington Hts. police investigate wallet snatchings

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By Freida Gad

Arlington Heights police are investigating whether the same people were behind two purse thefts about an hour apart Saturday at local restaurants where the thieves attempted to use the credit cards to make thousands of dollars in purchases at stores.

In the first theft, a man and woman are suspected of stealing a designer wallet out of a purse hanging on the back of a chair in the party room at Panera Bread, 5 W. Rand Road, between noon and 1:07 p.m. A couple sat down behind the victim's chair. They did not have food and left within 3 minutes. Value of the wallet and contents were estimated at $330.

Thieves used a credit card in a Palatine Walmart for $30. They tried but were not able to charge $3,000 at a Palatine Target and tried to make $8,000 in three additional purchases at other stores.

In the second theft, two men and a woman stole a wallet out of an open purse hanging on the back of a chair at Portillo's, 806 W. Dundee Road, between 1:30 and 2:17 p.m.

The two men created a diversion by grabbing the back of two customers' chairs at the same table with the female victim. The men pulled on the chairs. The female offender apparently then grabbed the wallet out of the victim's purse. All three suddenly left. The thieves tried but failed to use all the credit and debit cards in the wallet for more than $5,000 in charges.

In the first theft, the man was described as a black male, 50 years old, 6-foot, 250 pounds and wearing all black clothes. The woman was described as a black female, 50 years old, 5-foot, 140 pounds, large build.

In the second theft, one of the men was described as a male black, 60s years of age, 5-foot-10, 160-170 pounds, with a raspy voice. The second offender was a male black, 55-years-old, 5-foot-10, 220 pounds and heavy build. The female offender was described as a female black, 5-foot-7, heavy, with short hair.

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