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Exclusive: Two Victims Speak Out As Surveillance Tape Shows Serial Robber

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SURFSIDE (CBSMiami) – CBS4 has obtained new surveillance tape of a man who Surfside Police said is a serial robber who targets older people when they are distracted.

Authorities also said the thief even picked the pocket of a 94-year-old World War II veteran at a Publix supermarket in Pinecrest.

The suspect, according to police, has victimized people throughout Miami-Dade and in Broward County as well.

Two of the criminal's victims are speaking out.

Surfside police Det. Marian Cruz said, "My concern is that if we don't catch this man immediately he is going to continue to do this to other victims."

In an exclusive interview with CBS4's Peter D'Oench, 76-year-old Elaine Killeen said she was victimized at around 2:00 p.m. on January 1st while she was shopping at the Publix supermarket at 9400 Harding Avenue.

She left her wallet unattended inside a shopping cart. While she was distracted, her wallet with credit cards and her driver's license and $30 in cash was stolen.

Not long after that, one of her credit cards was used at a nearby liquor store to purchase $287.70 worth of items.

"When I reached the counter, I found I had no wallet," said Killeen. "I'm very angry losing my wallet. I was devastated with so many personal pictures in there that can never be replaced. My mother, my husband. My whole life was in there. Please I need to get my wallet back. I definitely want to believe that I will see it again."

Police are looking into one report from a witness that the suspect fled in a 2013 black 4-door Chrysler with the license tag CPMX59.

Police said the suspect may have been working with accomplices and they describe him as a black male who is his 50s, 5-foot 10-inches tall and weighs about 170 pounds.

The suspect usually wears a hat or a blue cap and has a dark or black jacket folded over his arm to cover his crimes. Police also said he often wears a gold watch and a pinkie ring.

A second victim, who is 60 and did not want give her name or show all of her face, said she was victimized at the same Publix store on October 13th of 2015 at around 4:45 p.m.

She said was sitting at a blood pressure machine and left her wallet inside a pouch that was hanging from the stroller of her 1-year-old grandson.

Investigators said the suspect placed his dark jacket over the stroller and stole the victim's wallet, which had credit cards, her driver's license, $320 and a $96 DSW store credit. She noticed that her wallet was missing when she went to pay for her groceries.

"I noticed my wallet was missing from the stroller," she said. "I do remember someone combing up and brushing by me and up against the stroller. I felt violated. I think you have to be aware of anyone who comes up and brushes up against you. Be very aware. And yes this person should be caught and penalized for this."

Surfside police said there was a third incident at the same store on December 8th of 2015 at around 3:15 p.m.

They said a 65-year-old victim was looking at pies and left her wallet unattended inside a shopping cart.

They said the suspect again used his dark jacket to cover the crime and took a wallet with identification and credit cards and $400 in cash. The victim also noticed that her wallet was missing when she went to pay for her groceries.

Detectives said the same criminal picked the pocket of World War II veteran John Burt of Pinecrest at a Publix supermarket on December 29th of 2015.

Pinecrest Publix Pickpocket
The man pictured is accused of pickpocketing a 94-year-old man at a Pinecrest Publix. He reportedly used the victim's credit cards to charge $6,400 at a Bloomingdale's store. (Source: Pinecrest Police)

Burt, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, told D'Oench in an exclusive interview on January 11th that the suspect carried a black jacket and brushed up against him while he was shopping and stole his wallet.

The wallet had cash and credit cards inside it.

"I feel terrible," Burt said at the time. "The more I think about it I don't get to sleep. It shocks the hell out of you and makes you feel lousy."

"I have advice for our older community," said Detective Cruz. "Keep personal belongings in site at all times."

Killeen said, "He should turn himself in. He is destroying people's lives. I feel very violated."

Anyone with information should call Surfside Police at (305) 861-4862 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

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