LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After a four-month investigation involving three police agencies, police arrested Ashley Starks, Tiffany Wright, Marquita Alexander and Amber Garris. They're accused of breaking into cars at east end businesses to steal purses and other valuables. Police say the victims made it easy by leaving valuables in sight, and many customers of the same businesses that were targeted are still doing it despite warnings.
Jeffersontown Police Detective Steve Fisher says stealing purses is a crime of opportunity, and he says the four suspects charged with breaking in and stealing were looking for opportunities.
"They all had the same goal in mind ... to break out windows, grab the purses, get the credit cards out and charge them up as quickly as possible," Fisher said.
And Fisher says the four friends had plenty of opportunities.
"Well they saw the fast money," Fisher said. "They saw an opportunity to go out and get things for nothing, and hopefully not get caught, but make a fast dollar."
According to detectives, the opportunities arose at several places around town, including the Louisville Athletic Club in St. Matthews. After word about the car break-ins got around, we're told employees posted signs warning customers not to leave anything valuable in the car.
But those signs may not have been enough. On a recent Thursday afternoon, we saw several cars with purses in plain sight - a tempting target.
As Season Harrig was leaving her workout, she wasn't sure if she had concealed her purse or not.
"I'm wondering," Harrig said. "I mean. I don't think mine's in plain view. It's usually in the front seat, just because when I jump out I just leave it in there and go."
Harrig says since her back windows are tinted that should make it harder for her purse to spot.
Her purse wasn't hard to find if a possible thief were looking - it was open and on the back floorboard. "Honestly, I just normally toss it in the back and sometimes not even in the back seat," Harrig said.
Harrig says she was rushing to her pilates class, and admits she could be more careful.
"I should probably take my purse in or put it in the trunk or something," Harrig said.
Ironically enough, when I returned to the live truck after interviewing Harrig, I discovered I had left my own purse in plain view - something she and I may never do again!
Fisher says credit card thefts continue to rise.
All four suspects face charges of credit card fraud, and Fisher says there could be more arrests in this case.