Women in Corcoran theft likely same group from Clovis crime

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New surveillance video is now linking a group of women to multiple crimes across the Valley. The target is purses, but police warn this crime is much more serious.

Investigators in Corcoran, Clovis and Stanislaus County are looking into whether several small business thefts are connected.

A donut store owner in Corcoran says surveillance video released to Action News from Ruben's Bakery in Clovis last week shows the same group of unlikely thieves that stole from her shop.

In the video a female is seen swiping a purse and several other items, then shove them into a larger purse.

"Incredible," the unidentified owner of Sunshine Donuts in Corocran said. "You should not do that. You should work or do something like that. You should not steal. That is not nice."

The owner is angry over this theft. Police say on May 11 four women walk into the shop, two at a time. "Just carrying on with small talk, distracting them," said Corcoran Deputy Chief Gary Cramer.

Cramer says the surveillance video shows the women had a plan, to distract the workers then rip them off without the victim's having any clue.

"It's not just the value of the purse and the contents, which the purse contained some jewelry that had some value," Cramer said. "But there were also some personal identification documents within that purse that were stolen."

The purse, several expensive watches, along with a few passports and social security cards were taken. Police say they are items that could lead to identity theft.

Further angering the victims is how they were tricked. "They gave money to my grandson to bring to me," the owner said. "One lady stayed here and talked with me, never stopped."

Video from the crime in Clovis last week shows four women enter the bakery, distract the worker and swipe a purse from behind the counter.

The victim in Corcoran says it's the same group that stole from her. "That's her face," she said. "I remember. Never forget that."

Corcoran police say this approach is unusual. They're hoping to track down the women in the video to determine if it really is the same people in both crimes.

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