Woman says thieves bought $5,200 in gift cards minutes after stealing her purse

AURORA, Colo. -- Investigators are looking into a case in which thieves stole a woman's wallet and bought $5,200 in gift cards in 17 minutes.

The victim asked to remain anonymous, fearful the criminals could retaliate because they have her ID and information.

She said she was at Costco when she noticed her wallet was missing. By that time, surveillance video shows the criminals were already at a nearby Target, purchasing $5,200 in gift cards on her company card.

"Obviously, this is how they make a living," the woman said.

Last week, a similar incident happened at an Edgewater King Soopers store when a woman's wallet was stolen from her shopping cart.

Police said the criminals took her credit cards to Target and purchased $2,000 in gift cards.

The Aurora Police Department said other jurisdictions are looking into similar crimes.

All of the departments are working together to see if the same people are behind the crimes or if it's being done by a group.

Kenneth Forrest with Aurora police Department said the thieves buy gift cards because it's easy for them to purchase them quickly before the credit cards are shut off.

Then, it gives criminals more time to shop for items such as iPads and other electronics to purchase with the gift cards or they sell the gift cards online.

"They can get it quick and then use it to purchase high-dollar value items," Forrest said.

The victim said she's surprised a cashier didn't find it suspicious someone was trying to purchase $5,200 in gift cards.

She hopes her story is a reminder to all stores to be more diligent in these situations.

"I don’t want this to happen to other people," she said.

Anyone who recognizes the people in the surveillance video is asked to call police.