Purse-snatcher hits Walnut Grove Pier 1 parking lot

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police are looking for a purse-snatcher who held a woman at gunpoint in the parking lot of a popular store as holiday shoppers packed the place.

It happened just before 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pier 1 Imports on Walnut Grove in East Memphis.

It's not the first time that store's been targeted.

This time, police say a woman was robbed at gunpoint as she packed her car with her purchases.

Police say the suspect came up behind the woman, pointed a gun at her, demanded her purse and took off.

Now, some shoppers say they`re watching their backs a little more closely.

"It is sad," Cheryl Hampton said. "[I'm] very guarded. But that's the way the world is now, you just have to be on guard all the time."

Advice Joanne Hackman says she always takes to heart.

"I'm very aware of what's going on, and if there's someone loitering, I stay away from them," she said.

This is the second time in just six months the store has been hit.

In June, a man was caught on camera pulling a gun on two employees, getting away with money from the register.

But police say there are things you can do to keep yourself safe while you're out shopping this holiday season.

They suggest having your keys out so they're ready when you get to your car, putting your cell phone away so you can keep an eye on your surroundings, and if you're shopping late at night, parking in a well-lit area.

And even though most women won't leave home without it, some say their purse is the one thing they don't take with them.

"I don't usually carry my purse into the store, I just carry my wallet," Hackman said.

A safeguard Hampton also takes.

"Normally when I go shopping, I put everything in my pockets," she said. "It's because I'm fearful of the crime here in Memphis or anywhere. It's just a safety precaution."

WREG is still waiting for police to release surveillance video of the suspect from Tuesday's robbery, but if you know anything, call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.