Parking lot safety tips

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend Police are looking for a man who has snatched purses from four women in grocery store parking lots. A local safety expert has some tips for staying safe when you leave the store.

"Before you even walk out of that store, your keys should be in your hand, because not only do you have the key to your car you now also potentially have a weapon on you," said Ed Becher, Center for Protection, Security and Personal Safety.

South Bend Police are looking for a man who has been targeting women.

Four women have been robbed in grocery store parking lots in Mishawaka and South Bend.

Police say the suspect sneaks up on women while they're unloading their groceries, and climbs into their cars.

"He's very brave, he's very brazen, he's using the parking lots to hide in," said Becher.

Becher says parking lot protection is key.

"He's looking for women who are talking on their cell phones with their hands full of groceries, maybe texting, looking for ones that aren't paying attention to their surroundings," said Becher.

Becher says it's important to look alert, even in daylight.

"That phone goes away, you've got to keep your eyes, that head has got to be moving, watching what's going on," said Becher.

Becher also says you need to remember where you parked. Do not rely on your car alarm to help remind you.

"Those little devices to beep your car are nice, but they are telling the criminal element where your car is," said Becher.

Instead he says wait, do not press any buttons or unlock your car until you get to your car and are ready to jump in.

If all else fails and you are confronted by someone who demands your purse, Becher says cooperate.

"Give it to him. Let him have the purse. You can get a new purse, the credit cards can be replaced it's not worth getting hurt or dying over $20 or $30. It's just not worth it," said Becher.

This suspect that police are looking for may be driving a white Chevrolet truck with an extended cap.

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