Keep yourself from becoming a victim of theft at the gas pump

Warning to people at gas pump after woman's purse snatched

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A Little Rock woman is warning others of thieves at the gas pump after her purse was taken when she wasn't looking.

A trip to the gas station is routine for Kathryn. She gets her debit card out of her purse from the front seat, then she goes to the gas pump. But Tuesday her typical pit stop took an unexpected turn when she had her back to her car.

“Just quietly someone had snuck up on the other side and had taken the purse right out of my seat then quietly closed it so you couldn’t hear anything and I drove away and that was that,” she said.

Kathryn didn't realize her purse had been stolen until she got home. She said she immediately called police and started cancelling her cards, but little did she know, her bank was one step ahead.

“I got a call from a local branch, Arvest bank is where I bank, and they told me a lady had already tried to write a check to cash and the teller has the good sense to decline it because it was suspicious and she called me right away,” she said.

According to Kathryn, police were then able to arrest Earlmesha Coleman by using footage from the gas station and evidence from the bank.

“I was really grateful to have the team of law enforcement officers that took care of everything so quickly and was amazed that that afternoon they had found her and recovered the purse and that was wonderful,” she said.

Little Rock police said even if you put your purse and valuables under the front seat, that's still not safe and your stuff could still get stolen. They said to be sure to always lock your doors when you're at the gas pump.

When it comes to your bank, Arvest sales manager, Asa Cottrell, said fraud is a problem they face regularly, so be sure to have a plan.

“Look for a bank account or checking account that has identity theft protection combined with it, things like credit monitoring, credit report, credit alerts,” he said.

Kathryn said from now on she'll be locking her doors at every stop she makes and encourages others to do the same.

As for Coleman, she was charged with forgery, fraud, and theft.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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