Police warn shoppers to look out for thieves during the holiday shopping season

In shopping plazas across Los Angeles County, holiday music and lights are setting the mood for the season, which attracts a lot of people planning to spend time and money in shopping areas like downtown Brea.

A woman went to the police station Monday afternoon after falling prey to a thief looking for an opportunity to strike.

Near the movie theatre on Walnut and Birch streets, Brea police said the elderly woman was opening her car door when a man walked up and told her she dropped her cash on the ground.

"When the victim bent down to look and see that there was in fact some cash on the ground, she stood back up after retrieving the cash, found that the side door of her vehicle was open," said Lt. Adam Hawley with Brea PD. "And in reality what happened, it was just a distraction and the suspect took her purse from the vehicle."

Police said even the most aware people could fall victim to this type of crime, which they classified as a distraction theft.

The advice was to keep the doors you're not using locked.

Hawley said police were investigating whether this theft was related to previous thefts in the area over the last few months.

"We want to find out was this victim targeted for a particular reason or was this just a crime of opportunity."