Kansas couple robbed in broad daylight next to a busy shopping mall

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — A couple on vacation from Kansas was robbed in front of Ala Moana Shopping Center during rush hour Friday afternoon.

Milton Gimlin, 73, and his wife, Terri Gimlin, 69, were victims of a purse snatching.

“Because we feel comfortable here, we feel safe here, we did not take any of our normal precautions. And it came back to bite us,” Milton Gimlin explained.

He said they’ve traveled all over the world and expect something like this to happen in Mexico or even on the mainland, but not in Hawaii.

The couple spent all day Friday sightseeing. They walked from their hotel in Waikiki to the Aloha Tower and were headed back to their hotel around 4:30 p.m.

“We had already walked close to eight miles or so. We were hot and tired. We were walking side-by-side and these two guys came up on bicycles behind us and said, “Excuse me.”

Gimlin said that he and his wife tried to move over and let the bike-riders pass.

“These guys went on one side of me and one went between my wife and I, and by doing that they entangled her purse.”

Gimlin explained that his wife had wrapped her purse around her wrist just as a precaution but the suspect was bumping into them.

“They were jostling her and distracting her attention and she was trying to be nice and let them by. And before she knew what happened, they had her purse and they were running off,” Gimlin said.

He tried to stop them but said he lost his balance and fell.

The Gimlins are grateful they weren’t hurt but said it was quite a headache getting cleared to go through TSA for their flight Saturday without their identification.

Retired HPD Lieutenant Philip Lavarias said it’s a crime we’re seeing much more often.

“The crooks are getting more and more creative to get what they want. You have to be more aware of your surroundings. This isn’t the Hawaii we grew up in,” Lavarias explained.

He warned that if someone wants your property, they’re going to get it. The best thing to do is to take precautions to minimize the effect in case you are robbed.

Tips to protect yourself in case you are robbed:

  • Carry a minimal amount of cash and just one credit card–only the items that you need for that outing.
  • Keep a list at home in case anything is stolen.
  • Keep your bag close to you, under your arm or wrap it around you, so it’s not easy to grab.
  • If someone tries to take anything by force, let it go–you don’t want to get hurt.
  • Make a lot of noise, yell, scream, “I’m being robbed!” so others will see what’s happening.
  • Try to remember as many details about the suspect as possible.
  • Always, call the police and report it.

According to HPD’s Crimemapping website, there have been six robberies in the last week within two miles of where the Gimlins were robbed Friday afternoon.

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