Woman Tracks Down Her Stolen Wallet On A Hunch, Catches Thief Using Her Debit Card

We’re so used to witnessing the theft of our money by tracking bank statements online or fielding phone calls from our credit card issuers over potentially bogus charges, but as it turns out, there are still real-life vigilantes taking their property loss into their own hands in real time. A Brooklyn woman found her wallet had gone missing while shopping in Manhattan and soon embarked on a personal reconnaissance mission to get it back.

According to Vos Iz Neias?, a 24-year-old woman realized her wallet was gone while she was shopping at Zara. She figured, as many of us do, that perhaps she’d left it at the office and headed back there to grab it.

But when she got off the train, Chase alerted her that a $211 charge had been made on her debit card at an Urban Outfitters. She happened to remember a new store had opened up recently, and headed over there to see what she could dig up on the thief.

Cashiers there didn’t remember any large purchases or suspect customers, so she walked out onto the street hoping to somehow spot the thief on her own. A long shot, when you consider that just about anyone could look like they’ve maybe swiped a wallet recently.

She spotted a Best Buy a block away and was seized by an instinct to walk in. Inside the store there happened to be a woman with an Urban Outfitters shopping bag, who was buying a cell phone. Could it be? Was it she? The woman got closer and saw her own name on the credit card being handed to the cashier. Boom.

“I started yelling at her,” said the woman. “At first she denied that the card was mine, but then she started yelling at me. She started running away towards the back of the store, but I ran after her, calling for security. She started throwing the merchandise from Urban Outfitters at me, then some cash, then my wallet, screaming ‘here is your stuff back, it is just a mix-up.’ ”

A pretty intense scene, especially considering the card had just gone missing earlier that day. And really, who runs into the person who’s stolen from them on a hunch — and is actually right?

Police questioned both women to verify what exactly was going on, and ended up arresting the suspect on charges of grand larceny, and possession of stolen goods.

“The police were amazed that I got everything back,” said the woman. “One of the officers jokingly handed me his shield and thanked me for doing his job.”

*Thanks for the tip, D.G.!

Brooklyn Orthodox Woman Tracks Down Stolen Credit Card, Nabs Thief Redhanded [Vos Iz Neias?]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ekopy says:

    Great detective work but she’s lucky the theif wasn’t arms and dangerous. Could have taken a turn for the worse.

    • AttackCat says:

      Well, obviously the thief wasn’t that intelligent, if they were shopping at a Best Buy.

    • cactus jack says:

      Ya, she should have just let her go and spend all of her money.

      • MrMongerty says:

        Or cancelled her cards, like a reasonable person.

        That said, I wouldn’t be able to pass up the chance to actually catch a thief like this either.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          To be fair, the thief was using the debit card. Her bank was probably already flagging the charges and would have rejected the one from Best Buy anyway, but I don’t blame her for getting angry at the thief, particularly when so few of us see the people who steal our money.

          • Rhinoguy says:

            I highly doubt the bank was flagging the purchases. If you read this column often enough you would realize they are more likely slapping overdraft charges left and right. Then the OP has to fight with the bank to keep from being victimized twice.

    • nbs2 says:

      Crimes like this seem to be one of convenience. See a purse, pick it up, take it. While possible the theif is armed, I would guess probably not. Robbed with a weapon (or supposed weapon)? I’m not messing with that.

    • Mocha says:

      Sooo, the thief didn’t have arms, how did she carry the stolen goods?.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Not likely. Most petty thieves don’t do armed robbery. That’s a whole other level of chutzpah.

    • spamtasticus says:

      She is also lucky a drunk driver did not kill her on the way home. She stood up for herself and confronted the thief in a crowded best buy. TV is not real life.

  2. Extended-Warranty says:

    I’ve seen so many women just go on shopping sprees with credit cards.

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    The woman got closer and saw her own name on the credit card being handed to the cashier.

    Do people hand credit cards to cashiers any more? Do some Best Buys really not have customer card terminals?

    • nishioka says:

      I’ve had to do that once or twice on occasion of a broken terminal. Not at Best Buy, but at other places.

    • RandomLetters says:

      I purchased an item last week at BB and they asked to see the card after I had swiped and since I hadn’t signed the back they asked for ID. Took an extra 30 seconds but I did like the fact that they wanted to make sure it was me using my card.

      • phsiii says:

        They didn’t do that for YOUR sake, they did it for THEIRS. If the card was stolen and you disputed the charge successfully, and they hadn’t checked it, they’d get to eat the charge.

    • LoadStar says:

      BB requires the cashiers to punch in the last 4 digits of the card number from the face of the card. This is supposed to prevent cards that have been re-encoded with skimmed info, as in those instances, the number on the face won’t match the information encoded on the magstripe.

    • Overheal says:

      Best Buy does have card terminals, but we need to see the card for either the last 4 digits or for a CID. If it’s not signed or there is “Check ID” on the card, I will check ID.

      Its kinda debatable she would’ve gotten the phone anyway, once the BBM Employee noticed the name on the card didn’t match up.

      The extra stupid part on the thief is though that for Phone and PC sales (and soon every major purchase) your details are recording (name and phone number, etc). Wouldn’t have been terribly hard to backtrace the transaction. Oh, and they would have pulled a copy of the new phone contract she would have had to have signed for either the upgrade or new line. So, not sure what she was planning to do there, except buy a device that her phone company could track her location on, if so subpoenaed by the police.

      • Murph1908 says:

        Could have been a burner.

      • phsiii says:

        And if the card IS signed, your merchant agreement forbids you to ask for ID.

        The idiots who put “CHECK ID” are just that: if someone gets the card, the thief can just sign it. Now the clerk can’t ask for ID, so the thief is golden.

  4. Abradax says:

    So she carried the crap from Urban Outfitters into the Best Buy? That’s weird.

    • theblackdog says:

      Not really weird, most people tend to shop at more than one store during a shopping trip.

    • ovalseven says:

      It’s only weird if she drove to Best Buy. It’s Brooklyn and it’s a block away. I’m sure she walked.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      How is that weird? You’re shopping at multiple stores, and you’re in NYC where you aren’t likely to be driving and wouldn’t be dropping off bags at the car.

    • Marshmelly says:

      Um…that isn’t weird. I know its hard for those who don’t live or work in cities to imagine but…sometimes we walk around and buy something in a store, and then walk into another store and buy something else. And some of us actually down own a car. Crazy!

  5. ovalseven says:

    Enter text…

  6. Walker66 says:

    It was just a mix-up, I thought I was you.

  7. Hoss says:

    “‘I am Muslim, you are Jewish. You are all greedy, why can’t you just let it go?’”

    This must be #3 on the list of what not to say when you’re accused of grand larceny

  8. evilpete says:

    … ” just a mix-up.”


  9. ConsumeristAlly says:

    What’s sad is that self-help is usually the only solution for property crimes. The police don’t care nearly enough–especially in major cities. Want to reduce inflation? Start policing property crimes, rather than writing them off.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Too many of them, not enough cops. Not enough value on the stolen items to justify the cost of a full-on investigation. Departments cutting budgets to the point where they don’t even dispatch for certain things anymore. My car got broken into and my CDs were gone. No value; I just called and was told to make a report over the phone. Since there was no damage to the car (I had stupidly left it unlocked), there was no reason to send a unit out. That’s why the thieves keep doing it–it’s so damn easy to get away with it.

      • ConsumeristAlly says:

        Exactly. This is why we should allocate more funds to police, and save up for bad times–when we’ll need more police. Though often the value is more than enough to warrant a small investigation, but the police don’t even bother. Which means it’s open season on anything relatively inexpensive, anytime, anywhere. In Chicago, for instance, they treat property crime like a non-issue, even when some of the low-level, frequent, recurring crimes would be easy to stop. Especially the ones happening repeatedly in the same location. And don’t even get me started on financial crimes, such as credit card theft. No effort is made, even when prosecution would be easy. It’s shameful. And it creates a worse world for all of us.

  10. PBallRaven says:

    Love the fake Vuitton bag in the picture.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I lost my debit card a couple of weeks ago. I discovered it right after I left a store, not far from my house where I had just used it, and got home. The first thing I did was go back to the store and see if I had dropped it in the parking lot, then asked if anyone had turned it in. No dice.

    I called my bank IMMEDIATELY–from the store parking lot–and canceled it. They arranged for me to drive over to my branch and get a new card right then and there. I didn’t lose any money, thank goodness.

    It’s scary when that happens. But lucky my bank is awesome.

  12. donovanr says:

    That is about the only type of customers that best buy will soon have, thieves and scoundrels.

    Maybe they should have a shady back section that is basically a pawn shop. “I’m sorry sir this ID you presented us looks like it was printed on an ink jet… have you checked out the great prices we have on inkjet refils?”