Appleton women who left purses hidden in cars have windows smashed, everything stolen

APPLETON, Wis. - Two women who were meeting up with their running group last Thursday in Appleton's Memorial Park had their windows smashed and purses stolen in broad daylight, and had to pay hundreds of dollars to cover their losses.

Lori Hill and Tonya Klitzke, both from Appleton, hid their purses under seats and out of sight in their cars.

"My purse is always hidden so it's never out in the open where it can be seen," Hill said.

They locked their doors.

"You know I just put it underneath a seat and locked my doors," Klitzke said. 

These women did what many of us do, hiding valuable belongings in the car while running a quick errand, or going somewhere where you don't need a purse.

Tonya and Lori walked inside a building in Memorial Park to meet up with their running group, Fleet Feet.

Minutes later, another group member noticed two cars had their windows smashed in the parking lot.

"So I went out there, and I found one of my windows broken and my purse stolen," Klitzke said.

Lori said the thief or thieves spent hundreds at the Dollar General with her credit card, while Walgreens turned down their attempted purchases.

"I have an app on my phone for the credit card, and as I was talking to the police, I was getting alerts that they were spending money," Hill said. "Dollar General, Walgreens, they were hitting, the first one was $504 on the card."

Wallets, phones, checkbooks, identifications were all stolen from their cars. 

Tonya and Lori now feel that they were being watched by whoever saw them walk away from their cars without their purses.

"I feel like the person was lying in wait somewhere out here watching," Klitzke said. "I couldn't believe it because there was so much lighting around, so many people around...I was only in the building maybe fifteen minutes."

Now the women say they are not leaving any valuables or purses in their cars again. 

"Five minutes to get a couple cards off of me took a whole day the next day to clear up the mess," Hill said. "But nothing of value will be kept in the car from this point forward."

Appleton Police say they get more reports on thefts from unlocked cars than "smash and grabs."

There is some good news. Appleton Police say that they have seen an almost 25% decrease in thefts from cars this year compared to last year.

There have been 76 thefts from cars reported so far this year in Appleton, down from 109 thefts from cars within the same time frame last year. 


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