UPDATE: Remember this wacky story from November? Clearwater Police announced on their Facebook page that they have made an arrest after the hunt for that “Hugging Bandit.” 65 year old Kathy Stevens now faces over a dozen charges.

Original story from November 2021…
We have our fair share of weird news stories in Florida, but this one is next level. Clearwater Police are looking for your help to identify and apprehend a woman who is walking up to older men and given them a hug. She pretends that she knows them. So what’s so bad about that? They say she’s also stealing things from their wallets.

One victim of this scam was targeted at Publix. The woman came up to him, did the routine like she knows him, opened his car door and started going through his things as she kept conversation going. The guy says she got a hold of his Capital One credit card and sure enough he started getting messages from Capital One a short time later about questionable purchases.

Some of the tactics the woman uses… she’ll ask how the guy’s wife is. In at least one case they say she even posed as a nurse from the victim’s doctor’s office. Clearwater Police say she’s gotten away with this a few times – in fact 5 cases in just 3 weeks. And those are just the incidents they know about.

Publix seems to be the woman’s favorite place to do her dirty work. They say she also did this at the Lowe’s at Clearwater Mall. Clearwater Police ask you to reach out to them if you have any information that might help in the investigation. Call 727-562-4242 or use tip411 if you can help detectives. [Source: Channel 8]

Here are some photos. Do you recognize her?  The third one seems like it would be the most helpful to me.

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