MERRILLVILLE | Three people are accused of participating in a scheme to distract a woman shopping at a Merrillville grocery store, steal her wallet and use her credit cards to buy items at another business.
Jennie Common, 43, Rose Harden, 54, and Field Winters, 48, were charged with forgery, identity deception and two counts of theft. They are all Chicago residents.
Video surveillance from Aldi, 10 W. 81st Ave., shows Harden dropped her purse and distracted a shopper Wednesday afternoon while Winters reached into the shopper's purse and grabbed her wallet, court documents state.
They left in a red and gray van, according to the documents.
Video surveillance from Target in Hobart captured Harden buying $645.99 worth of merchandise and gift cards later that day using a credit card from the stolen wallet, court documents state.
Common was seen attempting to buy $1,403.31 worth of merchandise and gifts cards at Target, but the transaction was declined.
After leaving Target, Merrillville Officer Shane Coleman saw the red and gray van near U.S. 30 and Interstate 65.
Coleman reported the vehicle suddenly swerved onto the northbound entrance ramp of I-65. Coleman activated his lights and siren, and the van eventually stopped at a gas station on 61st Avenue.
Common, Harden and Winters were inside the vehicle, court documents state. Identification and credit cards belonging to the woman whose wallet was stolen and merchandise and a gift card bought at Target reportedly were found in the vehicle.