Police searching for Altamonte Springs purse snatcher

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ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. —

Police are looking for a brazen thief who took advantage of a customer right in the middle of a busy Publix grocery store in Altamonte Springs.

The victim did what so many women do when they shop -- she put her purse in the shopping cart. She turned around for just a minute, and when she turned back, her purse was gone.

On surveillance video, a man is seen approaching the cart from the bottom of the screen. He reaches into the cart and takes the woman's purse as she browses the cosmetics aisle.

It took her only five seconds to realize her purse was gone. On surveillance video, she is seen going after the man.

"She just took her eyes of from it, and it just gave that single split-second opportunity for him to grab it," said Anthony VanCleave of the Altamonte Springs Police Department.

The theft happened Wednesday.

Several surveillance cameras capture the man who took the purse.

On one camera he is seen walking into the store at around 6 p.m

Another camera captures him taking the purse.

Soon after, cameras capture him going back out the front door with the victim and two Publix employees in pursuit.

Police said the man ran into a nearby apartment complex.

"Wow. I need to be more careful with my purse because I always kind of do similar things," said Publix shopper Julie Cook. "Sometimes I step away from the cart and my purse in the cart."

The 68-year-old victim said she was bending down for a $2 eyebrow pencil. She said it cost her a $300 purse, a stack of credit cards and $200 in cash.

"You're never expecting it, but those people are out there, and they're just waiting for a victim," said VanCleave.