Two women suspected in string of credit card thefts in Ottawa County

Posted at 10:13 PM, Oct 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 22:13:28-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- Police in Grand Haven are teaming up with several other departments in Ottawa County after a string of credit card thefts from at least three separate businesses on Wednesday.

Surveillance video shows two women going in the stores, one of them distracting the store clerk while the other goes into an employee's wallet.

Police say the two women started out at 'Borr's Bootery' in Grand Haven, taking the owner's four credit cards.

After that, they went to the 'Second Impressions Consignment Shop,' taking the employee's two debit cards and finishing at 'No Place Like Home' in Spring Lake, taking the owner's entire wallet.  It's a crime-spree those businesses are still trying to come to terms with.

"I had two ladies walk into the store, one about 5'7 and the other about 5'4," said co-owner of Borr's Bootery, Sharon Behm. "The shorter one picked up an Ugg boot and handed it to me and asked me to get it out in a size nine. I went to ring it up and she handed me her credit card, but the card was denied. As I'm starting to run that card the shorter woman says she has to use the bathroom. We have a private bathroom in our stock room and I allowed her to use it."

Behm says this was just the start of the events to come.

"I'm thinking to myself that this lady is taking a really long time in the bathroom and then I had that sinking feeling that my purse is on the desk next to the bathroom," said Behm.

While that suspect was in the back, Behm says the other woman pretended she didn't know her card's pin number and she'd need to go to an ATM to get cash to pay for the boots.

"As soon as they walked out the front door I ran back to my desk, pulled out my wallet, opened it up and my four credit cards were gone," said Behm.

From there, investigators say the women headed to Second Impressions. One of them again got the store clerk alone while the other went through her wallet.

"One of them had asked me to help her with picking out something for her daughter, but it was really weird because she didn't know her daughters size," said Diane Young, an employee at Second Impressions. "I didn't really think a whole lot of it. Every time I started to walk away, the woman would ask me something else. I thought the other lady was just wandering around and then when we went back in the main room they both just left. They didn't buy anything or say anything."

Young eventually noticed two of her debit cards were missing. Later on, Young noticed charges on them at a few stores in Walker.

"One-thousand dollars of merchandise had been purchased on my two cards within that little bit of time," said Young.

Young says she immediately recognized the two women from the surveillance cameras at Boor's Bootery.

"I feel very violated," said Young. "I really am upset today about the whole thing still."

Police say the suspects also took a clerk's wallet from a store in Spring Lake called No Place Like Home. She says her entire wallet was stolen while one of the women distracted her in the back of the store. She later received text message notifications from her bank of possible fraud. Her cards had been used in purchases at the same stores in Walker.

If you have any information regarding these thefts, you're asking to contact the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety at 616-842-3460 or Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT.