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HOOVER, AL (WBRC) -
Hoover police are searching for a man and woman suspected of teaming up to steal wallets at Wal-Marts and other shopping venues in the area.
Police believe the duo is working together to distract victims, steal their wallets and later use their credit cards to buy "big ticket items."
"They're very good at this, they'll practice, and if they get good at it, they do it again," explained Mike Tucker, a self defense instructor in Birmingham.
Protection from pick pocketers is a topic he covers with his students.
"It's a crime of opportunity. So if they see someone who looks distracted or they see like an open purse and the opportunity is there, then they'll go for that," he added.
Hoover police says one of these suspects distracts the target with meaningless conversation while the other strikes. That's why Tucker says as simple as it sounds, the key is to pay attention and avoid any unnecessary distractions like being on your phone while you're shopping.
If you know what the thieves are looking for, then you can prevent from becoming a likely target.
"They're going for a wallet, they going for credit cards, cash maybe, even a purchased item in a shopping back," Tucker added.
He recommends keeping your valuables where you can see or feel them.
"If you're a female and you wear a purse, try to keep one with a zipper and keep that zipper closed. Try to keep it in front of you. It's very hard to pick pocket when it's in front of you. And if you're a man, keep your wallet in the front pocket rather than the back pocket."
If you have any information that can help police in tracking down these two suspects, please contact Detective B. Massey at 205-444-7620.
To leave an anonymous tip, you can call CRIME STOPPERS at (205) 254-7777. CRIME STOPPERS offers cash rewards, up to $5,000 for information that solves crimes and leads to the offenders being charged or arrested.