A Mexico City woman whose purse was stolen in a coffee shop on Saturday pulled off a rare feat shortly after the crime took place: she personally caught the perpetrators.
The 37-year-old woman identified only as Érika was drinking coffee with a friend at a Cielito Lindo cafe in a Coyoacán shopping center when another woman sat down at an adjacent table.
The latter then proceeded to reach into Érika’s handbag – which was hanging over her chair – and remove her purse before placing it in her own bag. Video footage shows that the well-dressed woman then got up from her chair and walked away from the table.
While she was carrying out the theft, her accomplice – a man dressed in a suit – was at the cafe counter, where he succeeded in distracting the employees to ensure that they wouldn’t witness the crime.
Érika initially had no idea that she had been the victim of a robbery. However, a short time later she began receiving cellphone notifications from her bank that alerted her to multiple purchases with her credit card.
Érika saw that purchases had been made at a Walmart and Sanborns store in a nearby shopping center and quickly devised a plan to catch the thief.
After watching the cafe’s surveillance footage of the theft, Érika knew exactly who she was looking for and set off to find them using the credit card purchase notifications as clues.
She went in and out of stores like a hunter, the newspaper Milenio said, until she saw the man and woman she was looking for walking calmly through the shopping center with their purchases, including three iPads, in their hands.
Érika said she quickly alerted police and they accompanied her as she angrily confronted the thieves.
“It wasn’t so complicated,” Érika told Milenio. “The key was to act quickly. We have to do something to stop these kinds of criminals.”
She said the thieves, caught red-handed with her bank cards, tried to bribe her and the police to avoid being taken into custody. However, both parties refused the offer and the man and woman – identified as Silvia Vanessa “N.” and José Antonio “N.” – were placed in preventative custody.
Érika said on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that she was informed that the former had been granted conditional release.
“They spent 70,000 pesos in less than an hour,” she told Milenio.
“The truth is that it made me very angry because we work every day, get up early and get stressed just for someone to come along and take our things . . .” she said, adding that police found that the thieves were carrying about 20 bank cards that “probably weren’t theirs.”
Érika, who works in sales, said that any fear about confronting the thieves didn’t enter her mind because of the anger and adrenaline she felt. She also said she has always dreamed about being a detective and Saturday’s events gave her the opportunity to live that dream.
“I’ve always said that I chose the wrong profession,” she joked.
Source: Milenio (sp)