IMPD: Thieves sought out cancer patients

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Two women suspected in a stolen credit card shopping spree were caught on camera after police believe they targeted a business office that serves cancer patients. Now police are trying to identify them.

It happened at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on East 86th near College Avenue.

People come to the society's office to get help with services after being diagnosed with cancer. According to police reports, one of the women caught on tape apparently wore a wig to make people think she had cancer.

Security cameras recorded the two women walking into the office building last Thursday.

The victim says the woman wearing the wig even pulled on it, pretending that she needed some of the services they offer for people with cancer.

"One of them appeared to be a cancer patient. She had a wig and was needing to get a new wig and I couldn't figure out who she was meeting, so I went to the back," said office employee Beth Huffman.

When Huffman left the front desk, she believes the women made a bee line for her purse, hidden under the desk.

"I didn't know anything had happened until I started receiving fraud alerts from my credit card company," Huffman said.

Beth's credit cards were used at the Bed, Bath and Beyond on West 86th Street and at a nearby BP gas station. They racked up more than $1,000 in purchases in just minutes.

The same camera recorded the women leaving the office, but Huffman believes they wanted more victims.

"They asked if there was another cancer place here in the building," she said.

The women took brochures about services to cancer patients. Police found those brochures on the ground outside the building.

Huffman fears the thieves may target other women who won't suspect a thing.

"I want people to be aware how normal it seemed to me when they came in the office and not to fall victim to what I fell victim to," said Huffman. "The worst part is for someone to come in and pretend to be one of those patients so they could take advantage of the situation."

Huffman's dedication to help cancer patients runs deep because of family members who have battled cancer. But after getting her sympathy played on by thieves, she hopes someone is brave enough to help police identify the women.

"I have no doubt these women have done it before," she said.

The women fit similar descriptions in other purse thefts. Zionsville police are investigating two people caught on camera stealing out of a purse at 96th Street and Zionsville Road at a business that services cancer patients. The same suspects may also be responsible for purse thefts inside a northwest Indianapolis nursing home.

If you have any information about the identity of the women, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.