Woman's Wallet Lifted … Twice

Pickpockets working their holiday magic on unsuspecting victims

Watch your wallets folks. The holiday bring out pickpockets. Just ask Denis Marks, who has had her wallet stolen - twice.

The first time was Nov. 7. Marks was trying to leave of a Starbucks located at Clinton and Adams streets carrying coffee, a briefcase and a purse when a rude man blocked the doorway while talking on his cell phone.

Marks said she told the man, "Excuse me," but he wouldn't budge. He just kept on talking into the phone.

"I said, 'Excuse me!,'" Marks said. "He goes, 'Oh, OK, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' Then he moved out of the way."

Marks walked back to her office and looked in her purse a few hours later.

"The wallet was gone," she said. "I knew exactly when it happened. I knew it was that guy at the door."

The thief used Marks' card for an $1,800 shopping spree.

Then, last Friday, a pickpocket targeted Marks again as she was boarding a Metra train. Someone bumped into her after she had replaced her wallet, credit cards and license. In a split-second it was all gone again.

"I was cursing, and I'm sure people thought I was crazy on the train," Marks said. "I said 'Something-expletive -- not again.'"

Marks said she shared her story so that what happened to her wouldn't happen to anyone else.

Overall, thefts, robberies and burglaries have increased 17 percent since 2007.

Chicago police put on a pickpocket demonstration every year at the holidays showing how thieves often work in pairs. One distracts, while the other grabs. Women are advised to hold purses tight and keep them zipped closed, while men are advised to keep their wallets in their front pocket.

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