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Police: Thief targets wallets at local restaurants; goes on 10K shopping spree

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A northern Virginia woman is facing more than a dozen felony charges in Colonial Heights for allegedly swiping wallets and then swiping stolen credit cards to buy nearly $10,000 in merchandise.

"At this time, we've estimated over $8,300 in items purchased with these stolen credit cards," said Colonial Heights Police Sgt. Renee Walters.

The stolen credit cards were used to buy household and electronic items at Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot, according to police.

Jeannie Marie Bertini, 58, targeted Colonial Heights restaurants to steal the wallets and credit cards.

"In each of them, a purse or wallet was taken, and cards were used," said Sgt. Walters.

Back in January of 2015, a woman waiting on a table at Texas Roadhouse on Conduit Road, realized she had her purse but her wallet was missing.

Almost immediately the credit and debit cards were used. A Crime Solvers Alert was issued.

"But the female using the cards at that time was not identified," added Sgt. Renee Walters.

Then in January and February of 2018 there were four similar crimes of victims being targeted at Colonial Heights restaurants, police said.

Jeannie Marie Bertini

Another Crime Solvers Alert with the suspect’s photo was issued, but it was Colonial Heights Police Detectives who cracked the case.

Bertini was arrested and charged with 17 Felonies and two Misdemeanors.

Investigators said the key to not being a victim was keeping an eye on your purse or wallet.

"We don't recommend that you set it on the floor, out of sight, or on the bench outside where you can't see it,” said Sgt. Walters. “It needs to be where you can monitor it, it's close to you, on the inside if you are sitting at a booth or at a table, something you could see, and someone would have to go past you to grab it."

Bertini has been released on a $5,000 bond.