Florida woman arrested after stealing purses from Walmart shoppers, detectives say

A Florida woman is accused of stealing purses from several customers in the past month at a Walmart, authorities said.

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Detectives from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Sandra Rivera, 57, was arrested Friday at a Walmart in Deltona after a loss prevention officer saw Rivera stealing an older woman's purse from her cart on video surveillance cameras, WFTV reported.

Rivera was charged with two counts of grand theft of less than $5,000 and two counts of possessing, receiving or retaining stolen credit/debit cards for the October thefts.

Rivera was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail and placed on $30,000 bail. She was later released according to jail records.

The shopper reported the incident at the customer service desk.

The victim told store officials she saw Rivera take her purse out of her cart and stopped her by grabbing her purse out of Rivera's hand.

Detectives said Walmart loss prevention officers have been on the lookout for Rivera after two purse thefts happened Oct. 18 and Oct. 22.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Rivera has been identified and linked to both incidents and four additional pending cases by the Orange City Police Department, all at the same store.

Sheriff's detectives said they know of at least seven purse thefts at the Walmart, but only two victims filed police reports.

In a similar incident, the Sheriff's Office said Rivera got into an electric handicap cart, followed an unsuspecting woman down an aisle and removed the woman's purse from the cart.

Investigators said Rivera then went to another aisle, removed valuables, such as cash and gift cards, then hid the purse behind other merchandise.

In the theft Oct. 18, detectives said a woman and her husband were shopping at Walmart for more than an hour, and when they went to check out, the woman realized her purse was missing from her cart.

The couple reported the theft, and the purse was found in the store three days later.

The woman told detectives she lost $1,025 in valuables, including a cellphone, gift cards, jewelry, a replacement driver's license and a Social Security card.