Woman crawls through store to steal wallet, watch

Sept. 17, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.
Updated Sept. 19, 2010 at 4:19 a.m.

Lauren Bade was shocked when she saw her downtown boutique's security tapes - a woman on all fours, during store hours, crawling behind the cash register that boasts a sign saying, "Smile! You are on camera."

Seemingly disregarding the warning, the three employees scattered about the small store and the Victoria Police Station right across the street, the woman pawed her way up to Bade's purse, took her wallet and watch, and backed out through the narrow space she came.

"It was just brazen and scary," Bade said, of the crime that took place Wednesday afternoon.

The security tapes show two women in the store - one distracting an employee up front, the other talking to Bade's 13-year-old daughter at the register.

When Bade's daughter left the register to do homework on a nearby bench, she said the suspect made her way to the back of the store, saying "I'm going to see the summer sales."

Another camera angle shows the suspect then peeking around a corner and dropping to the ground, ready to make the 5-foot crawl to Bade's purse.

The woman can be seen putting the stolen items in her pants, making conversation with employees, then finally leaving with her accomplice.

"I'm as stunned as if I would have caught her red-handed," Bade said after re-watching the security tapes Friday afternoon.

Bade's boutique, named "Lauren Bade," moved into its Main Street location in June. Within two weeks, Bade said she hopes to open a wine bar next door, called "77901."

But the theft at her store has her taking extra precautions.

"If they're going to do something like this, there will be no cash on the premises after 5 p.m. Only credit cards."

Bade added she was more worried about the audacity of the crime than the $300, checkbooks and 1940s watch the woman stole.

"If she had come in here and said, 'I need money to feed my children,' I would have given her the $300," Bade said. "I really would have."

The Victoria Police Department is reviewing the security tapes and investigating the crime.



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