Purse thefts reported in Harford County

BEL AIR, Md. -  

The Harford County Sheriff's Office is looking into cases where a suspect goes into a county park, looks for a purse in plain sight, and breaks into cars.  Surveillance pictures from a bank clearly show a suspect.   

We showed the photos to people at the dog park next to the Ma & Pa Trail in Bel Air.  Jim Donovan was questioned by police a few weeks ago.

"They came up here and asked us if we heard anything and nobody saw anything or heard anything," said Donovan.    

Detectives say the suspect went right to a Bel Air bank on December 1, 2012, and wrote a check for cash.  A few cases happened late summer, but five more have been reported in recent weeks.

"The investigating officers in this case were able to tie the transaction that the person displayed in the pictures made at the time back to a victim, and certainly the person in the picture is not the victim who was affected in this crime," said Edward Hopkins, Harford Co. Sheriff's Office.    

Hopkins says the crime could be jumping to other counties.  The thieves will reach over iPods and go right for the purse.

"The dogs usually go after the purses so here I leave it in the car or when we go for a walk.  I guess I won't do it again," said Christine Femfort, who takes her dogs to the park.   

Hopkins recommends you hide valuables to not make yourself a target.  Surveillance video from a bank show one vehicle involved, a Lincoln Crossover, but they think a network of people and cars are being used.

"I always left my car unlocked up here, felt comfortable up here.  I didn't think anyone would mess with anything up this way," said Femfort.    

Cases have been reported at several parks, the Ma & Pa Trail, Annie's Playground, Jerusalem Mill Park, and Churchville Park.  There are similar reports in Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties.

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