MACEDONIA, Ohio - Alesia Love, of Macedonia, admits she made a big mistake while shopping at a Walmart store. It cost her credit card and her identity.
Love left her credit card sticking out a pocket of her purse on May 23 while inside the store. It was snatched by a crook, who then racked up more than $1,500 in charges over the next couple of days.
"This is just like ice cream for a thief," Love said.
On Thursday, Macedonia police released surveillance video of the female suspect. A Walmart surveillance camera captured the woman, wearing a blue tank top, green do-rag and sunglasses, leaving the store with a big box in a shopping cart.
After using Love's card at a different Walmart store, a camera showed the same woman walking outside, wearing a long-sleeved yellow shirt, sunglasses and a hair net. In both cases, she drove away in a Pontiac Aztec.
She also stole gift cards, food and gas from various businesses.
"When somebody takes your identity and you see it, it does something to you. For me to actually see her walking through the store as if she was me," Love said.
On Thursday afternoon, Det. Donavin Paquette tracked down the suspect in the case. Markesha Lane, 31, of Warrensville Heights, was charged with three felonies, including theft. She wrote a full confession, Paquette said.
Police said they were able to trace Lane because she used her own Giant Eagle card to earn fuel points after using Love's stolen credit card to buy food.
Lane will turn herself in on Friday, Paquette said.
Paquette said the city has seen more than 20 similar thefts this year. The victims were mostly women, losing their purses or wallets to thieves preying on shoppers inside stores or in parking lots. Paquette said Lane is not a suspect in other cases.
"They wear these types of disguises, and they usually commit these types of crimes over and over until they're caught," Paquette said.
Love said she has learned her lesson and wants to warn other shoppers to be careful with their credit cards.
"Put it in a zipped compartment. Stick it in. Zip your stuff up. Put it all the way down in your purse and then close it. That way, you know that your items are nice, secure and you don't have to be a victim like I was," Love said.
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