by: Ken Lemon Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested a man they claim was responsible for a string of thefts in which he targeted distracted shoppers.
Police said that man is Nicolaus Gibbs, and that all of his accusers are elderly women.
One of Gibbs' alleged victims said it all happened so fast and that she learned a tough lesson.
"The minute I get in my car I lock all of my doors," said Carol Body.
She said it's now something she does after a man reached into her car three weeks ago and stole her purse.
"It's rather scary," Body said.
She went to a store not far from her Huntersville home, and moments after she got into the driver's seat, she said someone opened the passenger door.
"This young man just reached in, grabbed my purse, and then took off," said Body.
Officers said this time of year more people are out shopping -- and criminals are out looking for their next victim.
Police said Gibbs went to shopping centers and watched people leaving stores to pick his candidates. Police said he followed them, then grabbed their purses. Many of the victims, like Body, were in their 70s.
CMPD also said that all six of Gibbs' victims were distracted while they were shopping.