Elderly woman dubbed ‘the hugging bandit’ pickpocketed victims after pretending to know them, police said

An aged Florida lady is accused of pickpocketing strangers by pretending she knew them and whereas giving them a hug swiping their bank cards and wallets, police mentioned.

Kathy Stevens, nicknamed “the hugging bandit” by police, is being held within the Pinellas County Jail on greater than a dozen fees from the Clearwater Police Department and different legislation enforcement businesses throughout the Tampa Bay space.

Stevens, 65, allegedly focused older males and would method them outdoors of shops. Clearwater police mentioned she would act like she knew the boys, give them an undesirable hug, and steal gadgets from their pockets.

In one October incident, Stevens allegedly walked as much as a sufferer and gave the sufferer a hug whereas reaching right into a again pants pocket, in keeping with an affidavit. The sufferer advised the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office that after the unusual encounter, the sufferer observed a bank card was lacking from their pockets.

The sufferer had simply used the cardboard and mentioned it “was in a position in the wallet which could have easily been accessible,” the affidavit states. The identification of the sufferer was redacted from the grievance.

The sheriff’s workplace mentioned Stevens allegedly spent practically $1,000 on the stolen bank card.

Stevens is related to not less than 4 incidents within the Clearwater space, police mentioned. It’s not clear if she has obtained an lawyer.

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