'Granny thief' on the loose in NC town. Cops seeking tips 'before she strikes again'

'Granny thief' on the loose in NC town. Cops seeking tips 'before she strikes again'
Waynesboro Police Department

WAYNESVILLE, NC (Mark Price/ The Charlotte Observer)- A North Carolina mountain town is warning citizens to be on the lookout for a wily criminal who may closely resemble their great grandmother.

Waynesville Police even have a nickname for the suspect.

"Please help us identify 'Granny Thief' before she strikes again," the department posted on Facebook Thursday.

Investigators are accusing the senior citizen of taking advantage of a toddler, no less, in stealing a woman's wallet. Waynesville is about 150 miles west of Charlotte.

The incident, which happened Thursday at a Waynesville Walmart, started when a toddler decided to throw a relative's wallet "overboard" in the checkout line, police said. Investigators later identified the toddler as the victim's own grandson.

A store video shows "Granny Thief" scoop up the wallet and hide it in her purse, police said. However, she denied seeing the wallet when the victim asked her about it, police said.

Social media quickly seized on the suspect description as a source of humor, including at least one person who asked if the toddler was going to be charged as an accessory.

Betty White memes have also started to appear on the police department's Facebook page.

"Why couldn't someone have caught her? I'm sure she couldn't run that fast!" posted Shilo Love on Facebook.

"Damn it, gram gram," posted Andy Simmons on the Waynesville Police Facebook page. "What am I going to do with you, Sticky fingers."

"She might...(be) confused. Hate to think she has taken up a life of crime at this AGE," posted Melissa Leopard.

Investigators ask tipsters to contact Sgt. Tamara Vander Day at tvanderday@waynesvillenc.gov or 828-456-5363, extension 2118.