WESTFIELD, NJ — One of the women looked about eight months pregnant, according to Daniela Palumbo, owner of Ella Allure Interior Design Center in Downtown Westfield, whose wallet was stolen from her shop Wednesday afternoon.
Two women entered the shop at about 2:30 p.m. and claimed to be interested in interior design.
“They said they had this project,” said Palumbo. One of them told her, “What time are you open until? Because I see you’re busy right now. We’ll be back.”
While they were at the shop, “One of the girls stuck her hand in my client’s shopping bag, right in front of us, which was weird,” said Palumbo.
After the two had gone, Palumbo’s purse was where she had left it, out of sight, and she didn’t notice that her wallet was missing until 4:30 p.m. when she got a call from Bank of America alerting her to suspicious activity on one of her credit cards.
That day, someone used Palumbo’s credit card to buy almost $1,100 of merchandise at the Victoria’s Secret across the street from her store. Later, the pair was seen spending $282 with Palumbo’s card at a downtown boutique, where they allegedly stole that merchant’s credit cards while buying baby clothes. They also used one of Palumbo’s cards to buy more than $350 worth of cleaning supplies at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Clark, she later discovered.
Palumbo described the two women as Hispanic and in their late 20s, both about average height. One woman was very pregnant, wearing a gray wrap sweater, her brown hair in a ponytail. The other woman had stringy orange-blond hair cut chin-length, with her bangs pinned up, she said, and was wearing light-colored jeans, sneakers and a horizontal-striped black-and-white sweatshirt.
Workers at other stores confirmed that these were the two women using Palumbo’s credit cards.
“I’m devastated,” said Palumbo. “It’s such an invasion of privacy—your personal belongings and your identification is out there in the hands of these strangers.”
Captain Scott Rodger of the Westfield Police Department said that the investigation into these incidents is ongoing.
Additional reporting by Sara Carpien.