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Police encourage safe shopping

November 29, 2003

Darleene Barrientos

With the deals being offered at stores during the holiday season,

police say it is easy to get distracted and have a wallet or credit

card stolen.

Authorities want people to remember to be cautious when navigating

the crowded malls and shopping centers this year.

Common sense can keep a wallet or purse from being stolen,

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Glendale Police Sgt. Sue Hodgman said. Hodgman oversees the

department's Glendale Galleria substation.

"Don't leave [your] purse in a baby cart or in a shopping bag.

Watch your transactions," she said. "Normally, this time of year, we

have an increase of thefts of wallets because [people] leave them

unattended."

People should also keep their cars from looking tempting to

potential thieves by keeping visible packages to a minimum.

"One of the things that we stress to shoppers is don't leave

packages and bags inside the car in an obvious way. Make sure the car

is locked and don't leave valuables lying around," Glendale Police

spokesman Sgt. Kirk Palmer said.

Another precaution shoppers can take is to move their car to

another location after storing packages and bags or disable the

internal latch to the car's trunk, Burbank Police spokesman Sgt.

William Berry said.

"It may be inconvenient, but it will be safer," he said. "You

don't want people to know you have valuables in your trunk."

Shoppers not using cash are also at risk -- potential thieves

would love to get a hold of a credit card, Glendale Police financial

crimes Sgt. Todd Stokes said.

"Make sure you don't leave your cards behind. Safeguard your PIN

numbers so people standing behind you don't see the numbers you're

punching in," Stokes said.

People should also be careful when making donations to

organizations, he said.

"There are scams that come around this time of year -- fake

charity-type scams," Stokes said. "My advice is, generally, if you

want to give to charity, identify who you want to give to and go to

them and give."

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