Handbag hustlers

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Handbag hustlers hit Neiman Marcus at SouthPark Mall.

Eight purses, valued at a combined $33,800, all stolen in a bold grab-and-run crime that took many by surprise.

The Neiman Marcus store at SouthPark is about as swanky as you get. Inside, there's a Chanel boutique, with high end handbags selling for up to $5,000 each.

Two men who entered the store were well aware of the value.

One of the men was large-- about 6' 2" and 220 lbs. He was wearing an LA Dodgers cap. The other man was 6' 0" and 200 lbs. he had on a Chicago Bulls hat.

Store security spotted them with their cameras and thought they were acting suspiciously.

"They went and hung out in that area, then they left out, then they went back in there," said CMPD Officer Tori Roddey.

For more than five minutes, they were browsed the expensive purses, finally asking a clerk to unlock a security wire to hand hold one of the handbags.

"The bags are connected by this wire, because the bags are so expensive, they're connected to this wire and you take them off one at a time to be looked at."

It was one at a time until the big man wanted to check a few more. With four purses in hand, he bolts.

The other thief does the same, grabbing four purses on his way out.

But in the hustle to leave, one of the men touch the glass door, leaving fingerprints.

With a manager chasing them to the parking lot, they drop a purse worth thousands. We don't know what happened to it.

"So we need the public to step up, if you know these guys, please, call in, text in or email us and let us know."

Officer Roddey doesn't recommend managers chasing thieves. He says that's what insurance is for so no one should get hurt over material items.

But in this case, the manager saw them jump into an older model black BMW with a partial plate, S-K-B.

If you can help, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600 and you could earn a cash reward.

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