Chicago woman has wallet stolen, suspects spend $4,000 within 20 minutes

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A pleasant night dining out turned into a financial disaster for a Chicago woman this week.

Her wallet was lifted from her purse, and before long the thieves had rung up thousands of dollars on her credit cards.

Whether they're worn over the right hip, the left hip, the right shoulder, or the left shoulder, there's one sure thing about women and their handbags in Chicago.

“We do carry big bags!” a woman said.

And those big bags are big targets for thieves.

On Wednesday night, a security video captured a theft in a near Northside restaurant, Piccolo Sogno Due. A customer had hung her purse on the back on her chair, and a male customer appears to reach into the purse with his left hand while his companion attempts to shield him from the view of others in the restaurant.

Shortly after, the couple left and the victim received a text alert that her credit cards had been tapped for $4,000. That's when she discovered her wallet had been stolen from her purse.

She spoke to FOX 32, but asked that we protect her identity.

“It was up to about $4,000 within 20 minutes. So I could tell this wasn't their first time doing it, and they were likely to do it again. And they obviously had a smooth operation going,” the victim said.

Police say when dining, women should keep their purses in their laps or in clear sight. Women that FOX 32 talked with seemed well aware of the risks.

“I always try to keep it in my own eyesight because I do get nervous, you know,” one woman said. 

“Don't assume that you're safe. Always keep your stuff closest to you. Make sure the zippers and everything are turned closer to you than the audience or people you're around,” another added.

These professional pickpockets don't just hit restaurants. A security video from a Loop high-rise shows a man in a white shirt entering a revolving door ahead of his victim. Once she's inside, he jammed the revolving door while the man in the black sweater reached into the woman's purse and grabbed her wallet.

Police say they've got a number of special teams investigating these professional pickpockets, and they've obtained the video of this latest incident from the restaurant.