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Thieves strike Goleta businesses

Authorities continue their search for two men accused of stealing two wallets and a purse from victims at several businesses in and around the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta.

The thefts occurred within one hour of each other on Jan. 20. at Costco, Albertsons, and ‘Jane at the Marketplace’ restaurant. In two of the cases, the suspects used a distraction technique in order to commit the crime without being noticed, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say the two men entered Costco at about 5:40 p.m. and went to the clothing section where a woman had placed her purse in the child seat of her car. Since her cart was parked next to her, one of the men distracted with a question while the other suspect used his jacket to hide his arm while he reached into the woman’s purse and stole her wallet.

By the time the victim realized her wallet was gone, the thieves had made their exit from the store.

The Sheriff’s Office says those same two men also stole a wallet out of a shopping cart at Albertsons across the street from Costco, and for stealing a purse from a woman who had it seated on the floor next to her at ‘Jane’.

The suspects are described to be in their late 20’s to early 30’s and of Middle Eastern descent. The Sheriff’s Office released several surveillance images of the suspects. They say the man wearing all black in the surveillance photos has acne scars on his cheeks and a distinct Middle Eastern accent.

Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office at 805-683-2724. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805-681-4171.

Avoid becoming a victim. The Sheriff’s Office reminds the public that the best way to avoid being targeted by thieves is to keep your purse zipped up and on your person at all times.

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