A Pleasanton woman was arrested earlier this month after police allege she illegally charged purchases to credit cards stolen over the past five months, taking the wallets of unsuspecting victims after striking up conversations with them in local stores.
Detectives are under the impression the suspect intentionally targeted older residents as each of the victims were over 60 years old, according to Pleasanton police Sgt. Aaron Fountain.
Breonna Chanice Richard, 29, has been charged by Alameda County prosecutors with multiple counts including theft and elder abuse, according to Fountain.
It was not immediately clear whether Richard was represented by an attorney or whether she had yet entered a plea to the charges.
According to Fountain, the Pleasanton investigation centered on five thefts that occurred between November and this spring, taking place at multiple locations in the city -- convenient stores, markets and grocery stores.
Police allege Richard would approach a victim inside the store and start up a conversation, all the while discreetly stealing their wallet from their purse.
The investigation revealed at least $5,000 worth of charges made on the stolen credit cards, according to Fountain.
"Our team of detectives devoted hours to following up on a number of leads that helped identify the suspect," the sergeant said. "Working with the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, detectives obtained an arrest warrant and gathered intelligence to pinpoint the suspect's location."
Richard was arrested in Pleasanton on the morning of April 8 and booked into the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on felony counts of identity theft, elder abuse and theft by fraud, as well as misdemeanor theft by credit card, according to Fountain.
The department's investigation is still ongoing, the sergeant said. Anyone with information about Richard, these cases or similar thefts can contact detectives at 925-931-5100.
Fountain added, "The Pleasanton Police Department would like to remind our community to stay alert and secure your belongings."