BELLEVUE, Wash. — Two women armed with pepper spray stole thousands of dollars of purses in less than a few minutes from a Bellevue Nordstrom on Monday.
With a knife or wire cutter, the women “cut the security devices off many handbags, which caused the clerk to come over,” said Bellevue police public information officer Meeghan Black. “When they were confronted, one of the suspects threatened the clerk with pepper spray.”
The women grabbed the purses and ran. They got away with ten purses worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Bellevue police are still waiting on an exact inventory of brands and retail costs.
As they ran out, they sprayed the area with pepper spray and then ran for the parking lot.
“They took off and left the mall. There was a late model Kia Sorrento, silver in color that was waiting for them. They hopped in the car and took off,” Black said.
Later that evening, the sales floor was restocked and a security guard stood front and center in the middle of the area where they sell the high-end purses.
Police are getting surveillance video from the mall and checking with police in other cities, but they said this does have some of the signs of something called organized retail theft.
“They knew what they were doing, they had a car waiting for them and our message to them is we don't want you committing this kind of theft and we don't want you doing it in Bellevue,” Black said.
There's a good chance the bags are headed for pawn shops or on Craigslist.
Police want potential buyers to be on the lookout as the holiday season approaches.
“If you see a high-end bag and it's way less than it should be, it's most likely stolen property and you need to report it or stay away from it," Black said.