MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police are searching for a man and woman in connection to multiple thefts in Apple Valley stores along Cedar Avenue last Friday.

Police captured the suspects on surveillance cameras inside the Cub Foods. The female victims reported similar situations to police, where the male suspect approached them with a question while his accomplice stole their wallets from their purses.

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“[It’s] what we consider a distraction theft,” said Apple Valley Police Capt. Nicholas Francis.

He says all the female victims were between the ages of 60 and 70, and they were shopping at Cub Foods, Aldi, Half Price Books and JoAnn Fabrics when they were robbed.

The pickpocket suspects (credit: CBS)

“I think by chance it happened to be women, but I guarantee if there were men with a wallet sitting in a cart or a cellphone, they would have taken advantage of that, too,” Francis said.

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Police say the thieves used the stolen credit cards to purchase hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift cards at stores along that same retail strip on Cedar Avenue. Capt. Francis says the safest practice while you’re out holiday shopping is to keep your purse or valuables on you — not in the cart.

“If it’s not in your hand, or pocket, or somewhere connected to you, it’s much more likely that’s going to be a target for someone to steal,” he said.

Police have shared surveillance images with other police departments in the metro, who say the descriptions match other thefts in their areas.

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“We’re joining our efforts with other departments to aggregated some charges, try to locate the individuals and hold them accountable,” Francis said.

Marielle Mohs