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Man arrested for string shopping thefts, police say

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Police in Charlotte say they have arrested a man in connection to a string of property thefts that targeted distracted shoppers.

Nicolaus Anthony Gibbs, 22, has been arrested and charged by police, according to the news release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

On December 2, 2013, officers were dispatched to a reported larceny call for service in the parking lot of the Harris Teeter located at 2201 WT Harris Blvd. 

Once officers arrived on the scene they met with the victim who told them that she was walking back to her car after shopping and placed her purse on the front passenger seat. 

As she was sitting there, the suspect opened her passenger front door and grabbed her purse off the seat. She attempted to grab the purse back and the purse fell to the ground spilling the contents out. The suspect  picked up the wallet with the cash and got back into his vehicle before driving away.

The suspect's vehicle description was broadcast to officers in the field. 

A short time later the vehicle was observed and officers conducted a car stop detaining the suspect. 

Information and evidence gathered during the investigation implicated Nicolaus Anthony Gibbs as the suspect involved in the earlier larceny. Officers also recovered the victims stolen property in the suspect's possession.

It was determined in investigating these cases that the suspect would observe shoppers exit stores, follow them back to their vehicles and grab their unattended property while they were distracted putting other items away.

CMPD Captain Todd Garrett told WBTV that shoppers often make bad decisions by not paying attention.

"Please do yourself a favor. Secure those items in a trunk, out of site out of mind," he said.

For more helpful tips from CMPD, click here.

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