Children Targeted by Thieves at Charlotte Area Mall

Thieves are stealing purses and wallets from shops and malls, and some of the targets are children.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The holiday Christmas shopping rush is still in full swing and police are warning shoppers to keep their personal items close.

Several thefts have been reported from SouthPark Mall in late December. Some of the victims have been children. 

“When little children leave their stuff on accident people will probably take it,” said 8-year-old Kira Nerell, who learned that lesson the hard way Thursday.

As Kira was leaving the SouthPark Belk with her mom Christy, she realized she forgot her purple drawstring bag inside the store.

“We went back inside where I took it off and it wasn't there,” she said. 

Only minutes had passed, but the bag was gone.

“I thought for sure someone would find it and turn it in because, I mean, it's Christmas,” mom Christy said.

But as of Friday, no one had turned it in. 

“I wish the lesson had been ‘you’re lucky somebody turned it in,’ instead of 'the Grinch stole your Christmas money,’” Christy said. 

Turns out, they’re not alone. After Christy and Kira shared their story, other parents came forward saying their kids’ wallets and bags were recently stolen at SouthPark, too. Some worried that their children had been watched or targeted by thieves waiting for a crime of opportunity. 

“It's terrible for anybody's bag but to be targeting kids just that breaks my heart,” Christy said.

Kids like Kira, who lost all her Christmas money, but not her Christmas spirit.

“The person who took it probably needed it more than me,” Kira said. “But if you didn't, please return it to the store and let them call my mom.”

Police say this is a popular time for thefts at stores and malls, so shoppers should be extra vigilant.

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