ABILENE, Texas - As holiday shoppers hit their favorite stores, Abilene police want to remind them to be careful both inside and outside the stores.
Officer George Spindler said thieves and pickpockets prey on large crowds and shoppers must always be on their guard.
"One of the things that I would recommend any consumer going into the store--especially women with purses--is to ensure that those purses are within their sight or within their custody at all times and that they are closed," Spindler said.
Criminals even team up, so it is best to shop with a friend.
"We want to make sure that there's nobody that's going to be involved in distracting them while maybe a perpetrator that's engaging in the act of theft reaches over, pulls out that nice pretty cell phone or that wallet that's easily accessible," Spindler said.
Be sure to remove all valuables and purchases from your car before you enter a store.
"That's the best method to ensure that if somebody were to get into you car that there is nothing there for them to take, you've taken all your valuables out of there," Spindler said.
Finally, pick your parking spot wisely.
"Go to a location where maybe there's some people coming and going that is properly lighted at nighttime and, bottom line, you have locks on your doors--use them until you're ready to get out of your car," Spindler said.
Have your car keys ready before you head out of a store and into the parking lot. Also, make a physical or mental note of where you parked your car. If you ever feel uncomfortable about where you parked, do not hesitate to find a new parking spot before you step out of your car.
Abilene police will be working extra security for the holidays around the Mall of Abilene and Shops of Abilene.