HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A woman's car stolen from the Walmart on Highway 98 has been located and returned. The woman's keys were swiped from her cart while inside the store Sunday night.
Hattiesburg Police said the three female suspects seen in surveillance video taking the victim's keys while the victim was not looking are juveniles. Police say one is in custody and the other two have been identified.
Police said after the three juveniles took the keys from the shopping cart, they activated the car alarm and stole the vehicle.
WDAM 7 News spoke with the victim Tuesday, while police were still searching for the vehicle.
The 22-year-old college student did not want to be identified due to privacy concerns, but said she wanted to share her experience so other shoppers did not find themselves in the same situation.
The victim said she thought she just forgot where she parked her car when she walked out of the store Sunday, but then realized her keys were missing.
The victim then contacted security who reviewed surveillance video and located the three females stealing the keys.
"I know at the time when my keys were taken, because of how close they were to me," the victim said. "I want people to be aware of that, be careful where you put your stuff and how close they are to you. Don't let people in your personal space and if they are, you need to check your stuff."
The victim said when she put her keys in the buggy, she never thought something like that would happen to her. She said at the time of the crime, she was just acting like any "regular customer."
"They were coming through and I was like 'oh excuse me.' I was being nice," the victim said. "I thought they were just trying to come through the aisle. What any regular customer do. I didn't hear any keys, anything being grabbed, I didn't hear any of that."
The victim is a senior at William Carey University and is set to graduate in May. She said there was personal information, schoolwork, medals and necklaces inside the vehicle.
Lt. Jon Traxler with the Hattiesburg Police Department said this is a vivid reminder to always be aware of your surroundings.
"When you are out and about in the public, be mindful of your surroundings and things like that," Traxler said. "Keep your purses, your wallets, things like that handy. When you go into a store, don't set it down and walk away from it."
The victim said she learned a lesson and hopes others will take a note from her misfortune.
"Right now, its (purse) going to be right on my body, right on my shoulders. Keys, phone everything. Keep it attached to you or in your pocket," she said.
Hattiesburg Police said due to the suspects being juveniles, they will not be releasing surveillance video from inside the store.