The manager of Charisma boutique turned into an amateur sleuth after a woman stole her wallet Saturday morning from behind the counter.
C.J. Rouse had $800 cash in the wallet, plus debit and credit cards and her driver’s license. She discovered the wallet was missing when her landlord dropped by to collect the rent.
“I really want this woman caught,” Rouse told the Sun Herald on Monday. “My rent money and everything was in there, so I really want her to get in trouble for this.”
The woman who took the wallet seemed to know exactly what she was doing, Rouse said.
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Rouse opened the woman’s clothing store on Government Street at 10 a.m. Saturday. She was still straightening out her cash-register drawer when two women knocked on the door.
“I waved them in,” she said. “I didn't want to turn them away.” Rouse had no time to put her purse in the office, where employees store personal belongings.
One of the women had a lot of questions. She said she was shopping for back-to-school clothes for her daughter, who was a plus size.
The other woman stayed by the counter.
After they left the store, Rouse said, charges started almost immediately on her debit card, beginning at Burger King. The amounts charged were small at first but began to grow.
The debit card was empty by the time someone tried to use it at the Slidell Walmart, so the user pulled out Rouse’s credit card for a $400-plus purchase.
Rouse had a hold on out-of-state purchases with the card. Her credit-card company called her and that was the end of the shopping spree, at least with the cards.
Charisma’s owner, Brandi Brosh, set up a GoFundMe account to help Rouse pay her rent.
“People are so gracious,” Rouse said. “I ended up getting well over the amount I needed, so I'll be able to pay my rent for two full months.”
Rouse was determined to catch the thief. When she saw her card had been used at a convenience store in Slidell, she called the store and got photos from the surveillance camera, showing the same woman who was in her store.
Brosh posted the photos and surveillance video of the woman nabbing the wallet on Charisma’s Facebook page.
By Monday morning, the post had been shared 246 times. Rouse thinks she has the woman’s name and has talked with several law enforcement agencies about the woman. Rouse thinks it’s only a matter of time before a suspect is nabbed.