AN ELDERLY woman has warned people to be on their guard after she claims she almost fell victim to “thieves” in a charity shop.
Pensioner Ann Hamilton (85) believes that crooks unzipped her handbag and took her purse while she was browsing through items in Oxfam on Drymen Road, Bearsden, on Saturday at 11am.
When she challenged two females in the shop, who she suspected had taken it, one of them allegedly made a rude gesture and swore at her.
But the fiesty widow was determined not to let the suspects get away with her purse, which contained £30 cash and bank cards, so she asked a member of staff to call the police and prevented them from leaving the premises.
Mrs Hamilton – who was in Bearsden at the time to visit her sister, Mary Forbes – said: “My sister had popped into the nearby M&S when I noticed my handbag was open and I hadn’t unzipped it myself.
“There were only two other ladies in the shop and a gent in the changing room.
“I thought it was likely that one of the women had taken my purse so I alerted the female member of staff at the till.
“The older woman threw open her bag to prove that she didn’t have my purse and pointed to it on the floor.
“I knew I hadn’t dropped it and I’d heard about this as a tactic used by thieves. They take your purse, throw it on the ground and wait for you to leave the shop before they pick it up.”
Mrs Hamilton believes that elderly people are commonly targeted by thieves and wants to warn others to be vigilant.
She added: “It was terrible and I was frightened.
“They were very aggressive towards me – full of hatred.
“I just wanted to warn other older people to be careful.
“Always make sure you keep your bag close to you, preferably at the front of your body where you can see the zip. These pickpockets are very good at what they do and when they strike you don’t feel a thing.”
One of the women was in her late 50s and the other was about 24 or 25-years-old, very thin with a pale face.
They may have been eastern European and the younger woman appeared to be selecting children’s clothes.
The manager of Oxfam in Bearsden, Eileen Conde, said: “In three-and-a-half years as a manager here nothing like this has ever happened before. I’d advise customers to be aware of their possessions when browsing and I’ve advised my staff to be on the look-out for suspicious behaviour.”