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Watertown woman warning others following theft

A Watertown woman is warning others to watch out for scams and theft while out shopping, after she had her own items stolen.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 9:27 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Watertown woman is warning others to watch out for scams and theft while out shopping, after she had her own items stolen. It’s a crime that often needs to be reported as soon as possible, to give police enough time and resources to investigate.

Marilyn Byer didn’t think much of it when she was approached by a man at T.J. Maxx in Sioux Falls last Sunday, asking about clothing sizes for toddlers. But in that time, another individual had taken the wallet out of her cart.

“As I was up a the checkout, my husband called and said that one of our cards got a charge of a thousand dollars, and where is my wallet.” said Byer.

In total, Byer said around $5,000 was charged to their account. While she’s hopeful that those charges will be waived, she said it’s still a frustrating and disheartening experience. Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said it’s a typical team move to steal a wallet or purse by distracting the victim. Often times the most difficult part in investigating the case and helping the victims can be remembering what was in those items.

“Probably the harder thing is to try and take that mental inventory of what was there, who you need to notify if there’s replacement items like a driver’s license or a social security card, and go about those steps.” said Clemens.

Clemens said calling the police should be the first step if someone believes that any item has been stolen. Calling in as soon as possible can make a difference in the amount of resources and time available to investigate the case.

“Having that report made as soon as the event happened, as soon as that crime took place gives a better shot at trying to figure out who’s responsible.” said Clemens.

For Byer, she said the experience was a lesson on being aware out in public settings of personal belongings. She said it’s not something that others should have to go through, and urges them to be vigilante in their property and follow closely if something is stolen.

“I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else. And if it does, I want them to know that there probably won’t be any assistance for them besides you making your own phone calls,” said Byer. “I thought I was a very cautious person. But obviously I let my guard down.”

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