Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Gateway Shopping Center

A Word of Warning — Watch Your Wallets!

I have been following the local news about an extensive rash of burglaries over the last couple of months in the Bala Cynwyd and Merion areas of Montgomery County. Lower Merion police believe that there are multiple burglary rings working in the area. There have been 25 burglaries in the last 7 weeks. Windows or doors are pried open and the target is cash, jewelry and laptop computers . . . small, easy to disguise items. A couple of suspects have been picked up by the police but others are still at large. Lower Merion police are keeping the residents informed and have provided local maps where the commercial and residential break-ins have occurred.

I know that Bala Cynwyd is not exactly next-door to Tredyffrin Township; however Tredyffrin is battling its own recent rash of thefts. At recent Board of Supervisors meetings, Police Chief Andy Chambers has reported incidents involving wallets being removed from ladies purses that were hanging on the back of a chair or on the floor, close to the owner. In some cases, the wallet is taken from the purse, credit cards and cash removed and the wallet returned to the purse. I have heard of purse-snatching incidents in Gateway Shopping Center including Panera Bread and Trader Joes. The following email has been circulating among several of my friends. To protect her identity, I removed the originating writers name but provide the email as a word of caution.

You may have heard about the string of robberies at Gateway. I have some insight because they stole from me today — but they only stole my business card case, so I feel like the luckiest woman in Tredyffrin. It is a group of three – one woman strikes up a conversation to distract the victim, the other two (a man and a woman) steal the wallet — right out of your purse. It has happened in virtually every store in Gateway and at Barnes & Noble, according to an officer at the Tredyffrin Police Department.

Please tell your friends and if a stranger wants to talk to you, pick up your purse first! Even though I knew about the robberies, I had my purse in the basket of my shopping cart at Trader Joes. Never again — Be careful!

I am one of those people who is guilty of putting my purse in the seat of the shopping cart. I’m also guilty of putting my purse on the back of the chair. This needs to be a wake-up call for all of us . . . a word of warning to watch our wallets.

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