Robbery victim, others offer tips for safe holiday shopping

Robbery victim in Perryville, MO says "it can happen to anyone"

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Some shoppers are still shaken by the robbery outside the 24-hour Schnucks in Cape Girardeau, MO on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The incident is a perfect example of why police and some shoppers say it’s important to keep your valuables safe this holiday season.

Most people might push off the risk of robbery thinking ‘that will never happen to me.'

Carla Wilkinson used to think that way. But years ago when she was leaving work around 9 p.m. a man jumped out of an alley, tackled her, and stole her purse.

Wilkinson says she is glad the thief from Saturday’s robbery at Schnucks is in jail because she was not as lucky

“There was nobody else around. He knocked me to the ground, I got scraped up and they never did catch him,” Wilkinson said. “It scars you for life. It hits a spot with me because it is very scary, and to realize that it’s still happening. Women have to be careful.”

Now she wants the dark experience to be a lesson others can learn.

Wilkinson says she sticks to shopping during the and when she’s done she always puts her purse in the car, and holds onto her keys and her mace key chain.

“That night I did have my keys in my hand, thank god because he got my whole purse,” she said. “So then I had to go through the whole thing of getting a social security card, a drivers license, everything back.”

Shopper Larry Riney often carries his wallet near his chest and thinks more people should realize they can be a robbers target.

“Its the old motto: It’s going to happen to somebody else, it’s not going to happen to me. But that is not always the case," Riney said. "So be aware, travel in groups and protect your items by keeping them unseen.”

And if a thief is not after what you are holding, the contents of your car also be an easy target.

Assistant Chief Bill Jones with Perryville Police Department says they do a lot of educational outreach with the public to help reduce robberies during the holiday shopping season.

“People are not going to break into a car generally unless they know they are going to get something,” Jones said.

The officer suggest putting electronics and expensive purchases in the trunk, under the seat or in the glove box.

“Whether its a cell phone or backpack, or briefcase or even a few dollars tucked in your cup holders those are all targets that the thief looks for,” Jones said.

Wilkinson thinks taking steps to not attract a robbers attention is worth the extra effort.

“Absolutely so you don’t have to worry about something like that happening to you,” she said.

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