DUNEDIN, Fla. (FOX 13) - She may look like someone's unassuming grandma, but investigators say Julie Edie was preying on elderly women in Pinellas County stores and stealing their money.
The 61-year-old woman is now behind bars, but officials believe there could be more victims of a county-wide crime spree that lasted more than a month.
"We believe that she's very good at what she does," said Pinellas County Corporal Jessica Mackesy.
Investigators say Edie carefully chose her targets, focusing on older women shopping at the grocery store.
"She is a very unassuming suspect, she likes to make friendly conversation with the victims, and then she distracts them and takes the purses, the wallets or the checkbooks," Mackesy told FOX 13.
According to officials, Edie was after cash, often ditching the purses and wallets after swiping the green.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says she hit eight different shopping centers in Clearwater, Palm Harbor and Dunedin since Dec. 13. Her victims ranged from 68 to 80 years old.
Edie was finally arrested last Saturday when deputies nabbed her in the act at the Publix on US 19 in Palm Harbor.
"One of the Publix workers walked outside and actually got a vehicle tag off the tag, and they were able to identify her through that and then place together that she's been involved in all eight of these cases," said Mackesy.
Deputies said Edie didn't get away with much money, only pocketing between $10 and $40 when she was able to pull off the crime.
"She was caught a few times with her hand in other people's purses, and so she was not able to be successful in the theft,” Mackesy said. “There was one in particular where the lady struggled with her because she tried to get her purse back."
Edie is in the Pinellas County Jail, charged with battery and six counts of felony petit theft.
This is not Edie's first run-in with the law. She spent a few years behind bars and has prior convictions for grand theft, petit theft and drug charges.
Investigators think the Dunedin woman could have targeted more shoppers. If you recognize Edie, or think you could be a victim, call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at 727-582-6200.