Woman says car was broken into at south Charlotte tennis club, police warn public not to leave expensive belongings in cars

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte resident Jean Kreisher is still trying to handle damage control after her expensive tote bag was stolen from her SUV last weekend.

Kreisher said the theft happened last Saturday in the parking lot of the Olde Providence Racquet Club. She said she was playing tennis when the car break-in occurred.

“I started getting pings from my credit cards and from my bank asking me if I had made these particular charges at a Walmart,” explained Kreisher.

She said she left the courts after receiving the bank notifications and found her car had been broken into in the club’s parking lot. Kreisher said not only was her expensive tote bag taken, but the bag contained several important items.

“They had keys and they had my driver’s license and they had checks. They had just about my whole life in that purse,” she explained.

Kreisher said she thinks someone must have been watching her as she hid her bag in the car before her tennis match. She said the thieves immediately started racking up charges on her credit cards.

“They had stolen my pocketbook and within three hours had charged over $8,000 to four cards,” said the Charlotte resident.

She said she has now filed a police report with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and is working with banks, insurance companies and credit card providers to mitigate the damage the thieves have done.

This is not the only car break-in to have been reported at Olde Providence Racquet Club this month. Two cars at the club were broken into on Tuesday, October 5, according to a police report filed with the CMPD.

John Sullivan, the general manager at the racquet club, said that the incidents will be discussed at a board meeting next week.

Officer Jonathan Frisk, a member of the CMPD’s crime prevention unit, spoke to WBTV about car break-ins in parking lots. He said thieves will target cars at daycares, parks, and athletic clubs because those are places where people tend to leave expensive items in the vehicles.

“They’re looking for a crime of opportunity. They’re sitting in a parking lot. Maybe they see you stuff something up underneath your seat or they actually see you get out of your car and place something in your trunk,” explained Frisk.

The crime prevention officer said that there are some organized crime syndicates, like the Felony Lane Gang, that specifically target women who leave purses or bags in cars. Frisk said it’s unclear if any organized crime syndicates are responsible for any recent car break-ins in Charlotte.

“I don’t think we can say that 100 percent. A lot of times if it is this particular group, we may find that out later on during the investigation,” said Frisk.

The officer said he encourages members of the public to avoid leaving purses or bags in unattended cars. He said people who need to leave a bag or purse in a vehicle should hide the item in the vehicle’s trunk before leaving home. He said it is also wise to avoid leaving credit cards and identification cars in a car. Frisk said he also encourages shoppers to use the wallet feature on their smartphones so they don’t have to bring physical cards out and about.

Kreisher said she is sharing her story to warn other women about thieves in the Charlotte area.

“This is my public service announcement to those women that think that it can’t happen to them. Well, I am testimony to that it can happen to them.”

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