Police on Thursday arrested a Stony Brook woman they say stole several pocketbooks from customers' shopping carts at six different supermarkets in Setauket, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson Station, and Centereach.
They arrested 25-year-old Jennifer O'Leary after she allegedly took a pocketbook belonging to a 77-year-old woman at on Route 112.
Further investigation showed she allegedly stole pocketbooks in a similar fashion on seven occasions at six different supermarkets between April 24 and June 14. According to police, she targeted customers, followed them through the store, and then committed the thefts when the customers turned their backs on their carts in the produce aisle.
O'Leary was charged with seven counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; two counts of second-degree forgery; and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. She will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Central Islip.
O'Leary was also arrested May 23 at the Sixth Precinct in Selden and charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. According to police, she pawned a metal ring that she did not own.
Following the arrest, police are advising shoppers to not turn their backs on their pocketbooks when they are placed in shopping carts, and to fasten pocketbooks into shopping carts using the child safety straps found on most shopping carts.