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'Smash and Grab' Suspect Charged After Witness Watches Theft

Suspect broke into victim's vehicle and stole her purse while she was working out at a Wauwatosa gym, but he was seen in the act.

A 27-year-old Milwaukee man is facing charges after he smashed his way into a woman's car and stole a scientific calculator out of her purse while she was working out at a Wauwatosa fitness club.

Kevin Venard Moore was charged Tuesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with one count of theft and one count of criminal damage to property. If convicted, he faces up to 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

On April 30, the victim was working out at , 2885 N. Mayfair Road, when Moore broke into her car and took a purse with a TI-83 calculator inside.

A witness saw Moore smash the window and take the bag before getting into a champagne-colored car with the license plate “CHELES” and driving off.

found the car in the area shortly after the theft, with Moore sitting in the passenger seat with the calculator. He admitted to the theft and told police he got rid of the purse because there was nothing for value inside.

Don't leave goods in sight – or hide them while in sight

"Smash and grab" thefts from cars have become commonplace at Wauwatosa fitness clubs, probably because people are reluctant to bring belongings inside to leave them in locker rooms.

Police advise that valuable property not ever be left in view inside cars at those or other venues, even if locked. It takes a thief only seconds to "pop" a window with a screwdriver or pry bar and snatch a purse, wallet, briefcase or package in plain sight.

Break-in artists are often reluctant, though, to risk the time to rummage through a car in a public place with no sure prospect of finding anything.

It is also wise not to let yourself be seen obviously hiding your belongings. Sometimes, thieves are waiting and watching for people who are carefully but openly concealing their belongings.

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