Couple accused of pickpocketing in Pittsburgh arrested in New York City

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Channel 11 found out about a couple accused of pickpocketing in several states, but police say what they did here in Pittsburgh got them busted in New York City.

Police say Luis Jara and Sonia Bernarda are professional pickpockets from out of state, but on Thanksgiving Day, they made a stop here in our area, cashing in on the kindness of unsuspecting holiday shoppers.

Police are still tallying the number of victims, but say they know of at least three who had their wallets stolen and they never suspected a thing.

The first was a shopper at a Robinson Township toy store.


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Police told Channel 11 the victim was in an aisle when a man started asking her questions about a toy. When he walked away, she noticed her purse was unzipped and her wallet was gone.

Another shopper in Mt. Lebanon is out more than $6,000 and a third shopper in Upper St. Clair $5,000.

Police say in just 24 hours, using stolen credit cards, the couple hit up area retail stores, buying thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards, perfume and pricey handbags.

"You can't go out and enjoy shopping without someone taking something that doesn't belong to them,” said shopper Marcie Marion.

Police say holiday shoppers here in Pittsburgh aren't the only victims of this couple; there are victims in Tennessee and Missouri.

Marion wasn't one of the victims, but she knows what it's like – she had her credit card skimmed just a month ago.

"I keep my purse very, you know, if I I'm walking away from the basket, it's with me,” she said.

Robinson police circulated the pair’s photos on a law enforcement network, leading to their arrests a week ago at a New York City ATM.

They will be brought back to Pittsburgh on a federal extradition warrant.


 

 

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