Hampshire Constabulary

Woman convicted of purse dipping in Alton

Press release   •   Jun 24, 2019 14:41 BST

A woman in her 20s was recently convicted of stealing a purse from a woman who was out shopping in Alton.

Samantha Papis, 22, from Craven Gardens, Barking, Essex, was charged with stealing a purse from the victim's handbag, which had been hooked over a shopping trolley.

The victim, a woman in her 60s from Hook, only realised her purse was missing when she got to the checkout in Waitrose in Station Road on March 28.

Papis was further charged with using a debit card stolen from the purse to make three contactless transactions on the same day at various locations.

She attended Basingstoke Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and three charges of fraud by false representation.

Papis was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for a year and was also ordered to pay £300 to the victim.

Alton Neighbourhood Policing Team have been working hard to combat purse thefts in the town centre, particularly against older and vulnerable people.

PC Pete Kelly said: “These offences are committed whilst people are shopping and I would urge members of the public to remain vigilant and keep their belongings safe at all times.

“Alton Neighbourhood Team will be continuing their High Visibility Patrols to offer reassurance to the community and plain clothes patrols to catch offenders. We will also be giving advice and offering purse lanyards to protect against thefts. "

Advice to protect your property includes:

  • Do keep purses and bags closed and secure at all times.
    • Do carry bags in front of you or diagonally across your chest.
    • Do return cards to your purse or wallet quickly and zip it up or button it.
    • Do use a purse that’s difficult to open. One that zips or snaps shut is best, and keep it closed.
    • Do use a money belt if you’re carrying a significant quantity of cash.
    • Do conceal your wallet in a buttoned or zipped pocket
    • Don’t hang your bag on the back of a chair, a shopping trolley or pushchair
  • Anyone with information about any type of crime can contact the local policing team via 101 or online at www.hampshire.police.uk. In an emergency – if a crime is in progress – then always call 999.