GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Police have a stern warning for those who eat at area restaurants. They report a couple of thieves have been targeting women while they eat at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Gonzales.
One victim told 9News she is stunned by how fast it happened.
What started off as a pleasant Friday afternoon at Cracker Barrel for one woman turned into chaos. In minutes she became the victim of what police said has become a widespread crime.
"I could feel him or whoever the person was pushing on my chair and I thought I had enough room so I scooted up a little bit and it didn't work. He kept pushing and pushing and at one point he pushed so hard I thought he was going to knock me across the table in my husband's lap," the woman said.
The victim said didn't realize it then, but when she got to the cash register she realized she had been robbed.
"I went and opened my purse and my wallet was missing," she said.
She said the brazen thieves went into her purse.
"It was zipped and snapped," she explained.
The woman said the suspects used her bank and credit cards to load up on thousands of dollars in gift cards.
"At Target they charged about $1,500 and at CVS and Walgreens they charged over $1,000 at each place, and they also got a rental car," the woman said.
Surveillance photos from the CVS on Airline Highway in Gonzales show two women Gonzales detectives think are responsible for the wallet snatching.
Detective Steve Nethken believes a guy was also in on the robbery. He said Elizabeth was not the only victim.
"On the following day we had a 47 year old at the same restaurant. She actually hung her purse off the back of her chair and we believe it was from that location her wallet was stolen from her purse," Nethken said.
The second victim's bank didn't allow the suspects to use her card.
The first woman said she is thankful she has fraud protection on her credit cards, but said the thieves put her under unnecessary stress.
"I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that to anyone else. It was really just a lot of heartache for me," the woman said.
If you recognize either of the ladies in the surveillance photos, call Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.